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Foreign Policy between opt-outs and closer cooperation

Koutrakos, P. (2017). Foreign Policy between opt-outs and closer cooperation. In: De Witte, B., Ott, A. & Vos, E. (Eds.), Between Flexibility and Disintegration The Trajectory of Differentiation in EU Law. (pp. 405-424). E Elgar Publishing.


The legal framework which governs the foreign and security policy of the European Union (EU) provides an intriguing case study of flexibility. On the one hand, it has provided fertile ground for an impressive range of structures of flexibility, both formal and informal, which have emerged in different ways and for different reasons over the course of the development of Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) as a distinct strand of the Union's external action. On the other hand, flexibility has been inherent in the conduct of the policy as a matter of practice and quite independently from the legal mechanisms set out in the Union’s primary rules.
This chapter will argue that there is a density of rules and procedures goverining flexibility which which has developed independently from the ad hoc arrangements prevailing in the area of secrity and defence as a matter of practice. This phenonemon illustrates a heavily proceduralised emphasis on law which is justified by neither prior experience, nor subsequent practice. The analysis is structured as follows. First, it will examine the typology of flexibility mechanisms set out in the rules which govern the CFSP and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Secondly, it will explore the central position of flexibility in the design and application of the CFSP/CSDP system and its impact on the conduct of the Union's security and defence policy. Finally, it will reflect on the qualitative differences which characterize flexibility in this area compared to other strands of EU action.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This draft chapter has been published by Edward Elgar Publishing in "Between Flexibility and Disintegration The Trajectory of Differentiation in EU Law" edited by De Witte B, Ott A, Vos E. in 2017:
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
K Law > K Law (General)
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
The City Law School > Institute for the Study of European Laws
Text - Accepted Version
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