The European Political Co-operation (EPC) was introduced in 1970 and was the synonym for European Union foreign policy coordination until it was superseded by the Common Foreign and Security Policy in the Maastricht Treaty of November 1993.
The idea of the supranational European Defence Community came about following a summit in The Hague (1969) in which the EC heads of state and government instructed their foreign ministers to "study the best way of achieving progress in the matter of political unification, within the context of enlargement." The foreign ministers subsequently drafted the Luxembourg/Davignon report (1970), which created an informal intergovernmental consultation mechanism where member states could achieve "politics of scale" (Ginsberg, 1989).
While EPC adopted the intergovernmental nature of the Fouchet Plans, it disregarded the 'French grandeur' of the Charles de Gaulle era. The involvement of the United Kingdom guaranteed its Atlanticist nature. The European Commission would furthermore be able to express its opinion if matters within its competencies were concerned. Finally, the EPC did not have the strong Paris-based Secretariat of the Fouchet proposals. The Netherlands had always been anxious about this idea, as they thought that it might turn into a competitor for the European Commission.
The EPC was amended and strengthened in the Copenhagen report (1973) and London report (1981). It was codified (formalized) with the Single European Act (1986).
The EPC turned out to be a "mixed success." During the 1970s, it was an active player in the Middle East conflict and in the creation of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, the predecessor of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. The Soviet-Afghan War (1979) and the handling of the Yugoslav Wars (1991-1995), however, showed the weakness of the EPC.
Since the end of World War II, sovereign European countries have entered into treaties and thereby co-operated and harmonised policies (or pooled sovereignty) in an increasing number of areas, in the so-called European integration project or the construction of Europe (French: la construction européenne). The following timeline outlines the legal inception of the European Union (EU)--the principal framework for this unification. The EU inherited many of its present responsibilities from the European Communities (EC), which were founded in the 1950s in the spirit of the Schuman Declaration.
F: entry into force
de facto supersession
Rel. w/ EC/EU framework:
de facto inside
|European Union (EU)||[Cont.]|
|European Communities (EC)||(Pillar I)|
|European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom)||[Cont.]|
|/ / / European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)|
|European Economic Community (EEC)|
|Schengen Rules||European Community (EC)|
|'TREVI'||Justice and Home Affairs (JHA, pillar II)|
|North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)||[Cont.]||Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC, pillar II)|
|[Defence arm handed to NATO]||European Political Co-operation (EPC)||Common Foreign and Security Policy|
(CFSP, pillar III)
|Western Union (WU)||/ Western European Union (WEU)||[Tasks defined following the WEU's 1984 reactivation handed to the EU]|
|[Social, cultural tasks handed to CoE]||[Cont.]|
|Council of Europe (CoE)|
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