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Constitutional Limits of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy

Project: Research

  • Butler, Graham (Project manager)
  • Krunke, Helle (Other)
  • Méndez Pinedo, M. Elvira (Other)
  • University of Copenhagen
  • University of Iceland
See relations at Aarhus University


The Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the European Union (EU) is a highly exceptional component of the EU legal order. This constitutionalised foreign policy regime, with legal, diplomatic and political DNA woven throughout its fabric, is a distinct sub-system of law on the outer-most sphere of European supranationalism. Of prime concern in EU external relations is the question of ‘who decides?’ When CFSP is contrasted against other Union policies, it is immediately clear that there is a special decision-making mechanism, which is reflected in the level of parliamentary involvement and judicial jurisdiction at Union level.
There is constitutional significance to the choice of legal basis for foreign policy and external relations acts of the Union. Legal tensions therefore exist in EU external relations between CFSP and non-CFSP fields, as the institutional competences differ in terms of decision-making, procedures, substance, and justiciability. Accordingly, it is a legal challenge to decipher the intricacies of how to operate a highly exceptional policy from an institutional perspective within the legal framework of the EU Treaties.
In the now depillarised framework of the Treaties, issues of institutional division arise from the legacy of the old pillar system. Following the most recent significant overhaul of the Treaties, the thesis sheds new light on the legal shape of CFSP, analysing and debating the parliamentary and judicial branches of the Union in the legal regime of EU foreign policy. With the character of the legal framework surrounding the EU’s external relations increasingly coming under the spotlight, Constitutional Limits of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy critiques the current state of legal affairs in the EU’s external action.
Effective start/end date01/11/201331/10/2016


Research outputs

ID: 129054440