Handbook of Governance and Security
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Handbook of Governance and Security

Edited by James Sperling

The Handbook of Governance and Security examines the conceptual evolution of security governance and the different manifestations of regional security governance. In particular, James Sperling brings together unique contributions from leading scholars to explore the role of institutions that have emerged as critical suppliers of security governance and the ever-widening set of security issues that can be viewed profitably through a governance lens.
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Chapter 32: European Union

James Sperling


At its inception, European integration served first and foremost the national interests of its member states. The European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community serviced the instrumental interests of the six founding members’ foreign and security policies: France, Germany, Italy and the others responded to the external pressure emanating from the United States to pursue economic and political integration as a mechanism for supporting the American containment of the Soviet Union. The push for deeper integration also reflected the desire to find an internal solution to the security dilemma vexing Europe since German unification in 1871. It would be difficult to argue that the EU pursued a ‘foreign policy’ not fully reflecting the particularistic interests of its member states prior to 1989. Nonetheless, the EU inexorably shaped those state’s definition of interest and became substantively valued as a foreign policy actor, a process that accelerated after 1989. The steady evolution of the (western) European states towards post-Westphalianism created the rationale and pressures for ceding foreign and security policy authority to the EU, a structural condition propelling forward the emergence of the EU as a recognized security actor inside and outside the circle of member states. The changed European context after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the task of securing its central, eastern and southern perimeters provided both the opportunity and necessity for an autonomous EU foreign and security policy disengaged from the particularistic interests of its members.

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