IAI - CSF Working Paper - July 2016
In times of international crises the effectiveness of the European Union Foreign Policy (EFP) has been seriously called into question: why has the EU failed so often in achieving its objectives? Besides an essential lack of political will among the European capitals there is something more. The current EU institutional system governing external action has shown a number of shortcomings ascribable to three original structural sins affecting its architecture, namely: an artificial separation within EU foreign policy areas; a lack of EU capabilities; and a democratic deficit in the EFP policy cycles. These deficiencies have contributed to reducing the global effectiveness of the EU action undermining its readiness for action, autonomy, coherence and visibility. The Lisbon Treaty tried to mitigate these sins with oscillating levels of success because at the heart of the problem lies an existential and unresolved dilemma about the future of the Union. At this point of the integration path any further institutional development aimed to fix these sins definitely has to face and solve this dilemma. If the current political context does not seem to allow this leap forward, the Lisbon Treaty and the EU actors may still have something to say in struggling for a more effective EU in the world.