chapter  4
14 Pages

Old and new member states

The twenty-five member states of the EU all pursue their own national foreign policies with their own national foreign ministries and national diplomatic services. The idea of the CFSP is to create not a single EU foreign policy but rather a common policy in as many areas as possible. In foreign and security policy some member states are more important than others, and there is a trend towards informal structures such as the EU3 dealing with Iran. But the bottom line for most foreign ministers, including the large member states, is the fact that they are far more likely to achieve their national foreign policy goals by working through the EU than by working alone. The enlargement of the EU from fifteen to twenty-five member states in 2004 had a significant impact in some areas of EU foreign policy, particularly policy towards Russia and Ukraine. There was widespread concern in some older member states such as France and Germany that the new member states would be American ‘Trojan horses’, given their automatic support for the US in the Iraq war. There were also fears that it would become much more difficult to achieve a common foreign policy in a Union of twenty-seven or more members. It is true that the new member states have their own priorities, usually their immediate neighbourhood, and have been less interested in global issues, including development policy; but it would be unfair to blame them for lack of coherence on EU foreign policy.