Germany wants to end EU foreign policy vetoes

  • Mihai Turcanu
  • 5.3.2018 13:13

Speaking at the London School of Economics on 28 February, Germany's Defence Minister, Ursula von der Leyen stated that EU is considering changing the way in which its foreign policy is formulated, switching to decision-making through majority in the European Council (EC), instead of the EU Treaty stipulated consensus criterion, which allows states to veto EU's foreign initiatives.

Although Von der Leyen's dissatisfaction with EU's foreign policy mechanism was firmly expressed, the only way to amend it is through a revision of the Lisbon Treaty. The ordinary revision procedure can be initiated by the European Commission, the European Parliament, or even by Germany, but to pass it would have to be approved unanimously in the EC. If implemented, such a change could result in a more coherent EU foreign policy through the harmonisation between its main Southern and Eastern strategic directions, and would complement the tendency to deepen EU's defence integration. However, due to persistent East-West divisions such initiatives are likely to be regarded by V4, but also by Romania, as promoting the ambitions of the Franco-German tandem, which in the wake of Brexit is gaining increased political weight and becoming more assertive in its quest to steer EU's foreign policy. 

About author: Mihai Turcanu

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