The Evolution of ESDP - Recent Political Developments and Social Constructivism

Master's Thesis, 2007

46 Pages


Table of Contents

1 Introduction
1.1 Purpose and Research Questions
1.2 Methodology
1.3 Material
1.4 Organization of the Thesis

2 Theoretical Framework
2.1 Realism
2.1.1 Liberal Intergovernmentalism
2.2 SocialConstructivism

3 European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP)
3.1 A background
3.1.1 The Amsterdam Treaty and the ESDP
3.1.2 St. Malo Initiative
3.1.3 TheHelsinkiHeadlineGoals
3.1.4 The Nice Treaty and ESDP
3.1.5 Headline Goal
3.1.6 2003: EU became a Military Actor
3.2 Main Political Developments behind the evolution of the ESDP
3.2.1 EuropeanSecurity Strategy
3.2.2 The European Union Minister for Foreign Affairs (EUMFA)
3.2.3 Structured Cooperation and the Solidarity Clause

4. Application of theories of the ESDP
4.1 ESDP and Realism
4.1.1 ESDP and Liberal Intergovernmentalism
4.2 ESDP and Social Constructivism

5. Conclusion

6. References
6.1 Primary Sources
6.2 Secondary Sources


The formation ofESDP (European Security and Defense Policy) is one of the most mainstream developments shaping the European security structure and the European integration process since the beginning of the 21st century. Despite the fact that the integration engine was injured by the rejection of the European Constitutional Treaty in France and the Netherlands, the ESDP can be seen as currently one of the most dynamic areas in European integration.

After the failure of the European Defense Community in 1954 and other attempts to create a European security policy, by the spring of 1998, the UK began to give a serious importance to defense issues. It was a turning point led to rapid developments in the formation of the ESDP.

In the development of the ESDP, the Saint-Malo declaration was the one of the most important steps. No longer content with the quest for a security and defense identity from inside NATO, and no longer prepared to use the WEU as a proxy, the EU itself sought to generate ESDP, which, as it arose from the Saint-Malo declaration of December 1998, explicitly calledfor the capacity for autonomous action, backed up by credible military forces (Hill 2005 p.183).

St Malo raised a number of challenges. Despite these challenges, the institutional implications were rapidly resolved and the EU in Brussels created new bodies, the High Representative for the CFSP (HR-CFSP—Javier Solana) and advisory Policy Unit (PU) of HR-CFSP; the Political and Security Committee; the European Union Military Committee (EUMC); and the EU military staff(EUMS) (Hill 2005).

Trend towards military power is now to be found in the ESDP agreed at the June 1999 Cologne European Council, which committed the EU to having a 60.000 person rapid reaction force (RRF) ready by the end of 2003 (Manners 2002 p. 237).

In December 1999, in the Helsinki Headline Goal (HHG), appropriate resources for European missions, including the Petersberg Tasks, set out in the Petersberg Declaration, adopted at the Ministerial Council of the Western European Union (WEU) in June 1992, was determined. Resources and deficiencies were identified in Capabilities Commitments Conference (November 2000) and Capabilities Improvements Conference (November 2001). At third conference, in May 2003, they achieved some results and Member States agreed on some contributions. When we came to the year 2003, the EU has started become the military actor, and ongoing political developments demonstrated that the EU attempted further security and defence integration.

1.1 Purpose and Research Questions

In general, the specific purpose of this thesis is to form a theoretical approach that could provide a better understanding of the European Security and Defence Policy, and could demonstrate its necessity.

This study emphasizes on the evolution of the ESDP, its background, political developments behind the evolution of the ESDP, and the application of three theories on the ESDP. As a result of the study, I will try to demonstrate that Social Constructivism can explain the evolution of the ESDP whereas the Liberal Intergovernmentalism and Realism are not sufficient enough to explain it. I attempt to compare these three theories since I believe that this will make easier to understand the contribution of the Social Constructivism.

Finally, this study tries to answer the following questions:

- What are the political developments behind the evolution of the ESDP?
- Could we say that these political developments provide an applicability of Constructivist theory on the security and defence cooperation in the EU?
- Why does Liberal Intergovernmentalism and Realism, relatively to the Social Constructivism, fail in explaining the security and defence cooperation in the EU?

1.2 Methodology

This paper takes the European Security and Defence Policy, which is one aspect ofEuropean Integration, as a case. Then, three theories, which are Social Constructivism, Realism (and Neo-Realism), and Liberal Intergovernmentalism, are applied on this case. Consequently, this paper can be regarded as a theory testing case study; however, this paper is not only theory-confirming but also theory-infirming case study since the paper claims that the Liberal Intergovernmentalism and Realism are not adequate, relatively to the Social Constructivism, to explain the evolution of the ESDP whereas the Social Constructivism is almost adequate. In other words, after defining three theories, I demonstrate that the evolution of the ESDP can be almost explained by Social Constructivism.

1.3 Material

The material I used in this study is divided into two groups: theoretical and empirical. In the theoretical part of my thesis, I use Andrew Moravcsik, Antje Wiener, Thomas Diez, Ben Rosamond, Thomas Christiansen, and Kenneth Waltz as my secondary sources. Then, as empirical materials, I used official papers of the EU such as declarations and treaties (especially EU's drafted constitutional treaty). These are primary resources I used. Moreover, secondary sources I used in my thesis are academicjournals and books of Christopher Hill, Maria Stromvik, Brian White and Nelson and Stubb.

1.4 Organization of the Thesis

The first part is the introduction mentioning the purpose, research questions, methodology and materials of the thesis. The second part explains the theoretical framework, and thus gives a general idea about Liberal Intergovernmentalism and Social Constructivism. The next part briefly mentions the evolution of the European Security and Defence Policy including its background and the political developments behind it. Fourth part is the application ofRealism (and Neo-Realism), Liberal Intergovernmentalism and Social Constructivism on the ESDP. Finally, last chapter will give a brief conclusion on the findings of the thesis in accordance with the answers of research questions.


Since the theoretical framework of the ESDP is the combination ofRealism, Liberal Intergovernmentalism and Social Constructivism in this paper, this chapter will attempt to explain these three theories briefly.


Realism is a state-centric approach. Realists give an importance to the national interests and power in international life. States decide to determine their interests and how to pursue them. The most important thing is the survival for the states. Stanley Hoffman (1966) defines this by saying that member states are not obsolete at all. Realists claim that also everything existing in the world is measurable, material and observable. That is why; there is no place for ideas, norms and culture in realism (Tonra 2000 p. 8). Besides, according to Realism, interests are exogenously given (Fierke and Wiener 1999 p. 724).

Realism is said to be based on three main assumptions. 'First, the state is the dominant actor on the international scene, and is capable acting as a coherent, unitary and rational unit.

Second, states recognize no authority above them so in international relations, there is a state of anarchy, or lack ofhierarchy, which forces states to selfhelp. Third, in anarchy, politics is dominated by military considerations and by the fragility of trust and cooperation. War is therefore always a possibility (Hill, 2005).

Neo-realism takes the world as anarchy, a field having no sovereign. In that field, states must survive. Since there is no sovereign, there is no mechanism preventing states from threats in international politics. Thus, the war is possible, and military power is necessary to survive in war. Power of states is also important to survive. They try to increase their power relatively to each other. One power's domestic or foreign success can decrease the one of other. Neo-realism claims that powers do not behave the same all the time; however, if they do not behave like this, they probably disappear from history (Waltz, 1979 pp.102-28; Mearsheimer 2001, pp. 29-54). About the anarchical condition of international politics, he claims:

"A self-help system is one in which those who do not help themselves, or who do so less effectively than others, will fail to prosper, will lay themselves open to dangers, will suffer. Fear of such unwanted consequences stimulates state to behave in ways that tend toward the creation of balances of power'' (Waltz).

As mentioned above, realists and neo-realists claim that international system is anarchic and in the state of anarchy, sovereign nation states behave conflictually. As Weber says that individual war may be stopped from time to time but war cannot be finished completely (Weber, 2005 pp.13-35).

Besides, for Realists and Neo-realists, the ultimate goal in this environment is to survive for the states. Weber says: 'This is their overriding interest. The only way that states can reasonably ensure their survival is to increase their power and therefore be less likely to attack them' (ibid.).

Realists and neo-realists also agree that there is no exit from international anarchy. It is not realistic to assume a formation of a world government could since states will never feel in secure enough. That is why they will never trust enough each other in order to give up their autonomy to a world government.

In contrast to common thoughts of realists and neo-realists, there are issues they disagree. First, they disagree about the human nature. Hans Morgenthau, who is a realist, claims that the nature of man is fundamentally detected. He argues that even though man is not purely evil, he certainly has the original sin. Thus, he means thinking pessimist about man's behaving is the only realistic way in international politics. That is why; international politics will be anarchical and conflictual due to the nature of man.

Besides, neo-realists claim that instead of finding natural causes of conflict, social causes of the conflict should be found. Waltz, who is a neo-realist thinker, claims that the organization of social relations demonstrates the existence of the war. The nature of man is not too important. The reason of this result is that good man behaves badly in bad social organizations, and bed man could be prevented from behaving badly in good social organizations. The war takes place if the states are in a bad social organization. According to Waltz, bad social organization is international anarchy. Waltz says: 'International anarchy is the permissive cause of war'. That is why; realists and neo-realists think different in the conceptualization of international anarchy. Realists argue that it is just the environment in which sovereign nation-state act whereas neo-realists claim that international anarchy describes the social relations among sovereign nation states that causally explain why wars occur (Weber, 2005 pp. 13-35).

2.1.1 Liberal Intergovernmentalism

Some EU scholars explain Liberal Intergovernmentalism (LI) as a theoretical school with no disciples and a single teacher: Andrew Moravcsik; however, LI is an application of rationalist Institutionalism to the field of European Integration (Schimmelfening 2004 p.75 in Diez and Wiener). In other words, as Nelsen and Stubb point out that Moravcsik and the rest of the field do not say completely different things. Moravcsik is a rationalist and an institutionalist. He says that actors generally behave rationally to reach their material interests, and institutions created by these actors affect the behavior deeply. According to his view of international relations, sovereign states can accept the cooperation if this is in their interest. That is why; they can reject the integration when their interests change (Stubbs and Nelson, 2003 pp. 239-254).

To begin with, Liberal intergovernmentalism has the two-level game understanding which means that governments bargain with other governments and with their domestic electoral district (Putnam 1993; Moravcsik 1998 in Merand 2006). Furthermore, Moravcsik utilizes Robert Putnam's two-level bargaining model (1988) since Moravcsik argues that international institutions are created to represent domestic interests in an intergovernmental bargaining arena. Integration can occur if preferences of domestic interest groups of the negotiating states can converge. Moreover, for the integration, negotiators which are likely to win should be compliance with the creation of institutions.

The main idea of LI is that the integration is related with the interests of the states themselves. In other words, governments' preferences have the supremacy in this theory; however, it is also close to the neo-realism since governments look for a common ground in intergovernmental negotiations after determining their interests. Nevertheless, finally, all states do not prefer to give up more sovereignty and power than necessary.

In contrast to neo-realists, Liberal intergovernmentalists do not believe that state preferences are naturally conflictual and convergent, including a collective action problem. Intergovernmentalism is close to the Neo-liberalism thought which targets catching the complex interdependence of states in the international system and thus departing from those who treat states as billiard balls or black boxes with fixed preferences for wealth, security or power (Keohane andNye 1977; Moravcsik 1993: 481).

In LI theory, Moravcsik argues that governments determine their national preferences in intergovernmental bargaining under the influence of domestic and international forces. National preferences are explained as an 'ordered and weighted set of values placed on future substantive outcomes that might result from international political interaction' (Moravcsik 1998 p.24 cited in Merand 2006).

Moravcsik divides his theory in to six core assumptions (Moravcsik, 1993 p. 481). The first one is the rational state behaviour (ibid.). Second, he claims that groups express preferences, governments bring them together and governments' preferences are determined (ibid. p. 483). These groups are producers since their economic interests shape national preferences (ibid. p. 517).

Third, it is argued that there are three factors shaping governments' policy preferences. First of all, there should be important benefits of the cooperation. Moreover, costs and benefits should be clear. Last, influence of producers on policy formation is important. These factors affect also the flexibility of governments in negotiations.

The fourth assumption argues that governments are less flexible about giving concessions from their interests. They try to reach on an agreement in the lowest common denominator (ibid. p. 501). According to Moravcsik, the lowest common denominator bargaining is not the resu]lt of actions of supranational leaders, but domestic interest groups (ibid. p. 491).

Fifth, LI theory argues that issue areas are separate. They become connected if there is no solution. The connection involves some financial and symbolic concessions not real issues. Finally, the nature of the issue brings important constraints to a government, and this creates predictable patterns of bargaining (ibid. p. 488).

Moravcsik argues the difference between preferences and strategies. On one hand, he points out preferences of states are autonomous from other actors in the international arena, and thus come before the interstate bargaining. On the other hand, strategies are policy options which can be changed to protect national interests (Moravcsik 1997 p. 519). Moravcsik claims that to guarantee the security of national interests and to become a part of the European integration are not contradictory to each other. Even, he asserts that European integration 'can best be explained as a series of rational choices made by state leaders' (Moravcsik 1998 pp.18-21). He demonstrates this, Moravcsik presents three stages. First, state leaders form 'a consistent set of national preferences'. These preferences are based on permanent national interests. Second, the states develop strategies based on these preferences. The strategies aim to provide the states to encounter domestic and international demands and pressures (ibid.). Finally, states decide whether they fit their agreements in institutional frameworks. For instance, if states decide to pool their sovereignties, they give their right to veto decisions up.

According to Moravcsik, states can pool their sovereignty if they are persuaded that cooperation will be more useful in order to keep their national preferences (ibid. pp. 20, 67). This means that institutions do not have the capability to change interests and preferences of states. In this point, Moravcsik claims that states pool their sovereignty in the realm of 'low politics' like economy and trade than 'high politics' like security and defence. In other words, Moravcsik points out economic interests drive the European integration (1998 p. 473). Rational preferences are mostly economic issues since the nature of European integration is economic. Governments decide the integration for their economic advantages.

Furthermore, Moravcsik mentions the importance of geopolitical preferences. Not only economic preferences but also geopolitical preferences are important for the explanation of the creation of the Union and the extensive policies of the EU integration (Moravcsik 1998. p. 476, Schimmelfennig 2001 p. 79).

The theory of formation of national preference, the theory of interstate bargaining and functional theory of institutional choice are useful to explain liberal intergovernmentalism.

First, the theory of formation of national preference attempts to explain national preferences. According to Moravcsik, economic interests determine national preferences in the European integration process. Moravcsik says:

The central prediction of this approach is that when economic integration is perceived to generate positive geopolitical externalities, governments tend to favor integration; whereas when integration is perceived to generate negative geopolitical consequences, they are more likely to oppose it (Moravcsik 2005).

Moravcsik also asserts that state preferences are determined by the distributional conflict and bargaining power at the domestic and the international level (Schimmelfennig 2001 p. 49).

Furthermore, Moravcsik argues that the theory of interstate bargaining tries to explain the efficiency and distributional outcomes of EC negotiations (Moravcsik 2005). According to Moravcsik, efficiency is unproblematic relatively since negotiators, first, give an importance to the distribution ofbenefits, shaped by the relative power of national governments regarded as asymmetrical policy interdependence:

Patterns of interdependence underlie credible threats to veto, exit and exclude other governments, as well as, though secondarily, linkages between issues and offers of side payments (Moravcsik, 2005 p.11).

According to Schimmelfening, Bargaining theory argues that the outcome of international negotiations, that is, whether and on which terms cooperation comes about depends on the relative bargaining power of the actors. Bargaining power is a result of the asymmetrical distribution of information, and the benefits of a specific agreement (Schimmelfening 2004 p. 77 in Diez and Wiener,). This means that actors having much and better information will have more bargaining power. They also gain their outcomes they demand by threatening them with non-cooperation (ibid.).

Number of scholars, who support reflectivist, constructivist or sociological institutionalist approaches in general, have criticized Moravcsik's formation of national preferences model. For example, Wendt and Ruggie claim that membership is important to change preferences and identities of national elites who are part of the EU integration process (Sandholtz 1993, Risse 1996, Lewis 1998 cited in Pollack). They also claim that preference formation model of Liberal Intergovernmentalism ignores the endogenous effects of EU membership even though those effects are one of the fundamental features of the integration process.

Finally, as an explanation of functional theory, states establish international institutions to remove the first and second- order problems in international cooperation. Non- cooperative behaviour is a rational choice; however, it leaves all states inferior in the end (Schimmelfening 2004 p. 78 in Diez and Wiener).

In conclusion, Liberal Intergovernmentalism basically argues that in the international arena, governments behave regarding their purposes and goals set domestically. Liberal Intergovernmentalists claim that since 1955, there are three factors convincing the governments for further integration in the EU: their economic interests, their bargaining power; and their credible commitments to transfer national sovereignty.


A more radical view sees the international system itself, and its characteristic anarchical condition, as a social construction which can be altered or transformed by finding an alternative lens through which to conceptualize international relations (Wendt 1992).

Constructivist approaches to the study of Europe are trendy since the early 1990s. The ontology of the Social Constructivism is open to both material and social facts. As Checkel points out Social Constructivism focuses on the interaction of structures and agents since they are mutually constitutive rather than the causal explanations (Checkel 2006).


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The Evolution of ESDP - Recent Political Developments and Social Constructivism
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Sila Ayanoglu (Author), 2007, The Evolution of ESDP - Recent Political Developments and Social Constructivism, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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