The external relations of the European Union
- EU's relations with EFTA and the European Economic Area
- Candidates for accession to the EU
- Balkan countries and the EU
- European neighbourhood policy
- EU's relations with Mediterranean and Middle East's countries
- EU's relations with Asian countries and Oceania
- EU's relations with North American countries
- EU's relations with Latin American countries
- Appraisal and outlook of EC's external relations
- Bibliography on EU's external relations
The external relations of the European Union (EU), which date back to the first years of existence of the European Economic Community (EEC) [see section 1.2], are distinguished from the common foreign and security policy (CFSP). As explained in chapter 8, the CFSP depends on a special decision-making process, akin to intergovernmental cooperation [see section 8.2.2], whereas the external relations of the EC/EU are run by the EU's legislative procedure defined by the treaty of Lisbon [see section 4.3]. However, the external relations established by the European Community and taken over by the European Union, tied in as they are with the common commercial policy and the EU's development aid policy, give a foretaste of a really common foreign policy and an indication of the scope which it will eventually assume [see section 1.5.3].
The following pages will examine the relations which the European Community/Union as a body has already established with many countries throughout the world. Although these relations are of economic or commercial origin, they have on more than one occasion stepped out of this setting into the purely political arena. This is notably the case concerning relations with other European countries. For the student of European integration it is interesting to distinguish the foreign affairs decisions taken under the common foreign and security policy procedure from those taken under the EC/EU external relations procedure. In other words, it is interesting to see just where the EU's external relations domain ends and that of the EU's foreign policy begins. The answer to this question is not straightforward.