Europeanization of Foreign Policies. International Socialization in Intergovernmental Policy Fields and the Example of the EPC/CSFP. Gabriele Clemens, DFG-project “’To speak with one voice?’ Europeanization in Intergovernmental Policy Areas: The example of the European Political Cooperation (EPC) 1970-1981”, Department of History, Hamburg University, 12.02.2015–14.02.2015.
Reviewed by Andreas Bestfleisch
Published on H-Soz-u-Kult (August, 2015)
Europeanization of Foreign Policies. International Socialization in Intergovernmental Policy Fields and the Example of the EPC/CSFP
At the beginning of the 1970s, the then six member states of the European Communities established a new type of collective European diplomacy, called “European Political Cooperation” (EPC), which constitutes the forerunner of the present “Common Foreign and Security Policy” of the European Union. Although the EPC was organized intergovernmentally, there are hints that the EPC caused a form of “Europeanization” of foreign policies of the member states. Furthermore, some participating diplomats report a “socialization effect” generated by the intensive cooperation on different working levels within the EPC. The DFG-funded research project “’To speak with one voice?’ Europeanization in Intergovernmental Policy Areas: The example of the European Political Cooperation (EPC) 1970-1981” at the Department of History at Hamburg University, led by Gabriele Clemens, investigates the question of “Europeanization” in this context. The project conference aimed to approach the phenomenon of “Europeanization” in an interdisciplinary way. In doing so, the lectures treated methodological and conceptual questions of “Europeanization” and “Socialization” as well as historicizing the development of a common European foreign policy.
GABRIELE CLEMENS (Hamburg) presented the aims and methods of the DFG-project. The central questions are whether and how “Europeanization” of national foreign policies by the EPC took place. According to Clemens, the concept of “Europeanization” in general bundles various reciprocal effects between the European level and the level of the member states influencing or shaping foreign policies. So far, historical research has not put a focus on these reciprocal processes, which may require a reassessment of the significance of intergovernmental policy areas for processes of European integration.
In order to answer these questions, both the processes which took place in the national foreign ministries and the debates and processes within the various committees of the EPC during the first ten years of the EPC are studied on the basis of archival documents from national archives of selected member states. In the EPC framework, meetings of the foreign ministers, the political directors and expert groups for regional and structural questions were regularly organized. Additionally, the European correspondents and the ambassadors with residence in the different capitals met regularly to discuss questions of the EPC. In principle, these regular contacts provided a suitable environment for socialization processes, which might have influenced the ways of negotiating and cooperation among the participants. The possible socialization of the participants might have supported the harmonization of national positions towards foreign policy questions, resulting in a common European approach or a Europeanization of foreign policies.
Analysing the debates among the EPC member states on questions concerning Cyprus and the incidents in Southern Africa, the project identified different functions of the EPC for the EC Member States as Telse Rüter and Alexander Reinfeldt (both Hamburg) exemplified. TELSE RÜTER explained that the discussions in the EPC, in addition to bilateral economic interests, might have favoured a change in the Sub-Saharan policy of the French Foreign ministry: The Quai d’Orsay successively widened its focus of political influence on former British colonies like Southern Rhodesia. Furthermore, the French diplomats instrumentalized the EPC to strengthen their national positions by the support of the European partners in international forums like the UN. However, the Foreign Ministry did not change major foreign policy principles in favour to harmonize with the EC-Member States in the 1970s, but agreed to cooperate whenever this might be favourable to support French sovereignty.
ALEXANDER REINFELDT sketched the reactions of the EPC member states to the Cyprus crisis in 1974/75. Even though there was no basic dissent between the policies of the member states towards Cyprus, it became evident that the respective positions were mainly shaped by strategic calculation and predominant national approaches. Socialization processes, especially among members of the EPC Mediterranean working group, could not prevent increasingly diverging attitudes in the Cyprus crisis. Both examples demonstrated that the European socialization of individual actors within the EPC did not automatically change national foreign policy-making or lead to a “Europeanization” of foreign policies. It is only in a long-term perspective that Europeanization and socialization processes within the EPC seem to have fostered a sort of European foreign policy tradition since the 1970s.
ANDREAS BESTFLEISCH (Hamburg) investigated German foreign policy concerning the Middle East conflict in the 1970s and asked whether it has been “Europeanized” through EPC, as the conflict was a permanent topic on the European agenda. The analysis of German Middle East policy on different levels, i.e. bilaterally, within EPC and within the UN, showed that in some cases it is possible to speak of “Europeanization”: At the beginning of EPC, the Federal Republic argued for the Middle East conflict to be discussed on the European level in order to avoid problems for its own foreign policy. In the context of regular debates about the conflict in the UN, German representatives in several cases abstained from their own positions in order to facilitate a common European position. Furthermore, concerning bilateral relations with Israel, German diplomats often described the German position as a European position they had to abide by. Certainly, this European position was also shaped by German representatives during negotiations within EPC.
JEFFREY T. CHECKEL’s (Vancouver) keynote speech concerned the phenomenon of “socialization”. Positions and perceptions of individuals and states might be changed in the transformative arenas of international institutions through the simple act of participating in them – the participants are “socialized”. Checkel highlighted some well-known aspects of socialization: It is a group-based process, which can change individuals through mechanisms like persuasion and social learning. However, the effects are surprisingly little. The international socialization in transnational groups is always a secondary socialization. The delegates experienced a first socialization in a national context, which usually dominates their attitudes. Checkel then emphasized the importance of working more interdisciplinarily. The discussion showed that one challenge for research lies in the effects of different socialization environments for one person and questions of a secondary, third or fourth socialization of an individual. However, data for this are limited. Also concerning measuring socialization, there are more empirical questions than answers.
From a political science viewpoint, KAROLINA POMORSKA (Maastricht) presented the results of her field work at the EU-institutions in Brussels. Based on numerous interviews with participants of the Council working groups under Javier Solana, Pomorska proved some mechanisms of socialization. The working group members adjusted their individual behaviour norms. The exchange of information and a coordination reflex within the groups were frequently observable. New participants were impressed by the intense practices and informal norms of consensus-building and had to find their role in the group. The challenge for the working group members was basically not the cooperation within the group, but how to communicate and discuss the results with their superiors at the national capitals. However, the following discussion showed that while socialization processes occurred within the groups, the outcomes did not necessarily lead to more Europeanization of the national foreign policies.
From a historical viewpoint, CHRISTIAN HENRICH-FRANKE (Siegen) analysed the “Europeanization” of National Radio-Foreign Policy. Within the process of Europeanization, in the sense of a harmonization of national policies of European states, three phases can be identified: During the 1960s, national delegates at the „European Conference of Postal and Telecommunication Administration“ (CEPT) defined their policies concerning communication issues separately from each other. This changed in the 1970s. Up to the early 1980s, the members of the CEPT started to define common guidelines and to coordinate their strategies at international conferences. Since the mid-1980s, they worked out common strategies in preparation of the conferences and even prioritised the European proposals versus national positions. For this development, Henrich-Franke identified inter alia processes of socialization within the group of delegates at the CEPT, conceptually defined as an “epistemic community”, as an important parameter.
CORNELIA ILIE (Abu-Dhabi) added a linguistic viewpoint to the interdisciplinary concept of the conference. Taking the example of the crisis in Ukraine, she introduced aspects of discourse analysis. Ilie highlighted the possibility of labelling one event differently, dependent on the intention of the speaker, for example “Crimea’s annexation“ versus “Crimea joining the Russian Federation“. In sum, Ilie stressed the importance of linguistic aspects in analysing sources, which historians could sometimes take more into view. Using discourse analysis might help to identify different perceptions of the same event.
From a psychological perspective, ANDREAS MOJZISCH (Hildesheim) analysed the behaviour and ways of thinking of groups. Mojzisch argued that group members do not exchange all of their individual information. The desire to keep harmony in a group, one possible aspect of socialization, results in dysfunctional decision-making outcomes: Group members hide their preferences to keep the harmony. Research on these “hidden profiles” of group members does explain their behaviour and the mechanisms of outperforming individuals in a group. Mojzisch highlighted that in this context, the group does not take a “wrong” decision because of socialization pressure, but due to the conversational norms which include some part of unshared information. The following discussion showed that this might explain some decision-making processes, but that it is difficult to identify in historical sources.
Coming back to historical questions, ANE MARITDATTER ALTERHAUG (Trondheim) explained the role of the European Commission within the EPC in the early 1970s. The Commission was by definition not linked to the EPC. Therefore, it had to find its role within the EPC by itself. It offered expertise to the EPC delegates. By this strategy, it wanted to increase its influence on EPC talks. Alterhaug explained how the Commission was able to draw the attention of the member states to questions that these could only solve with the expertise and the budget of the Commission. By this strategy, the Commission succeeded in increasing its influence on EPC discussions.
MICHAEL GEHLER (Hildesheim) contributed another viewpoint to the questions of the function of the European Political Cooperation: He analysed Austrian sources dated before Austria joined the EC. This “outsider view” might add new aspects to the current state of research. Gehler stated a change of EPC in the 1980s. He focussed on the policy towards the Eastern block and the rapprochement between the COMECON and the EC. Despite some divergences, the policy of Gorbachev fostered the harmonization of the position of the EC member states. Effects of Europeanization were not only perceivable within the EC, but also towards other Western European countries. The Austrians judged the influence of the EPC as a growing factor in the international environment.
So far, Europeanization had been discussed in the context of a harmonization of national positions. However, GUIDO THIEMEYER (Düsseldorf) highlighted the effects of European Integration processes on structures and mechanisms within the member states themselves by taking the example of the German “Länder”. The federal organization within some member states is affected if the state hands over sovereignty in a policy field to the European level. Therefore, the “Länder” had to give up competences to a supranational institution without being asked. Research on these phenomena so far hardly exists. Thiemeyer analysed sources of the Landesarchiv Nordrhein-Westfalen. He traced the development of foreign policy-making and the share of competences between the “Bund” and the “Länder”, where a conflict still exists. The “Länder” started to practice some kind of lobbyism at Brussels in the 1970s, which can be interpreted as a kind of “Europeanization” of structures. The discussion, again, revealed that different interpretations and uses of concepts are summarized under the label of “Europeanization”.
PETER VON JAGOW (Bonn) depicted the work of the European Correspondents within the framework of the EPC. As a former diplomat, he added a valuable contribution to the scientific perspectives of the conference. Von Jagow delivered some interesting insights into the work of the European Correspondents and the structures they were working in, highlighting some theoretical aspects in a vivid way. Theorizing his work by using the concept of socialization gave him a feeling of “being socialized at work without noticing it.” Von Jagow pointed out that despite all efforts to coordinate national foreign policies, the decisions were still taken in the national capitals.
MATHIAS HAEUSSLER (Cambridge) focussed on the Europeanization of British foreign policy in the 1970s. Although regarded as being sceptical about further integration, Britain was among the most proactive participants in the European Political Cooperation (EPC). In trying to explain this phenomenon Haeussler emphasized the role of James Callaghan, Secretary of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Prime Minister in the 1970s, who turned from an openly Eurosceptic politician into an advocate of EPC during his time in office. This transformation – as Haeussler argued – was caused by Callaghan’s frequent contacts and interactions with his European counterparts through EPC, followed by a more general, gradual shift in British foreign policy towards greater convergence with the foreign policies of EPC members.
UMBERTO TULLI (Trento) focused on the CSCE and the discussion about human rights. He first explained the success of the EC member states at the Helsinki Conference in 1975. Here, the EPC member states managed to shape the agenda of the conference by performing as one common actor. Some member states had to adjust their national structures in the foreign ministries to achieve this level of harmonization. But after this first achievement, which might be labelled as a “Europeanization” in terms of institutional adaptation, Tulli stated a partial failure of the EPC at the second CSCE Conference in Belgrad in 1977. The Nine were not able to find a common approach any more, resulting in a unilateral initiative of France in 1978. The paradox – same goals, but different results – in cooperation might be explained by a change in external influences as well as by a major political disagreement among the Nine.
From a political science perspective, MAREK NEUMAN (Groningen) completed the conference with his case study of the CSFP Working Groups and the case of the Czech Republic. He hypothesized that CFSP socialization is a two-way road where the new member states simultaneously to being socialized into also mold the respective norms associated with the CFSP. Stressing the importance of the role as presidency for agenda setting, Neuman showed how the Czech representatives succeeded in transferring their foreign policy preference in the field of external democracy promotion onto the EU level.
The conference and the closing discussion showed that “Europeanization” is still a label used in different ways and contexts. Socialization occurs in all kind of transnational groups, but is hard to measure. The interdisciplinary exchange, notably between sociologists, political scientists, historians, psychologists and linguists added valuable aspects to the current state of research.
Jeffrey T. Checkel (Keynote Speaker): Socialization in International Institutions: What We Know and the Challenges Ahead
Gabriele Clemens: „To speak with one voice?“ Europeanization in Intergovernmental Policy Fields and the Example of the European Political Cooperation
Karolina Pomorska: Socialization and European Foreign Policy
Christian Henrich-Franke: „Epistemic Communities“ of Channel-Regulators: Gametes of a „Europeanization“ of National Radio-Foreign Policy
Cornelia Ilie: The Rhetorical Polyphony of European Discourses: Dissonant Harmony or Harmonized Dissonance?
Andreas Mojzisch: Wrong Decisions in Political Committees: Causes and Countermeasures
Ane Maritdatter Alterhaug: Unintended Integration? The European Commission's Role in the European Political Cooperation
Michael Gehler: The EPC and the Changes in Central and Eastern Europe 1989/90
Peter von Jagow: Report of a European Correspondent
Guido Thiemeyer: The Europeanization of German Federalism. The Federal States of Germany and the European Integration
Mathias Haeussler: A 'Converted European'? James Callaghan, EPC and the 'Europeanization' of British Foreign Policy in the 1970s
Umberto Tulli: The Limits of the EPC? The EC Members at the Belgrade CSCE Review Conference
Marek Neuman: CFSP Socialization as a Two-Way Road: The Case of the Czech Republic
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