The articulation of the EU security doctrine in 2003 with the embrace of ‘effective multilateralism’ has further increased the significance of the United Nations (UN) to the EU international presence.1 An overall assessment of EU performance bounces against the organizational complexity of the UN system, its multi-thematic nature, and the varying political and institutional modus operandi of the various UN bodies and agencies. As a result, existing literature offers quite different insights of EU performance vis-a`-vis collective security and EU presence in the Security Council (UNSC), the economic and social components of the UN system, human rights, and environment (see for example Hill 2005;
Laatikainen and Smith 2006; Missiroli 2005). Thus, from the beginning it is important to stress that caution is required in any attempt to generalize organ-and issue-specific findings (Blavoukos and Bourantonis 2011). In this paper, we examine the EU’s performance in the UNSC along the
four core elements of organizational performance identified in the Introduction to this collection. Three points of clarification are necessary. First, the EU has no state status and as such is not and cannot become a member of the UN, let alone the UNSC. There are of course a few indications of EU collective presence in the UNSC, in the form of statements from the Presidency and the High Representative (HR), but focusing exclusively on them would provide a limited and distorted picture. Thus, we need also to examine eclectically the contributions of individual EU member states in the UNSC, when they reflect and encompass the EU dimension.2 Second, methodologically speaking, whereas voting patterns of EU member states have been used to analyze the EU presence in the UNGA, it is questionable whether this approach can provide meaningful results for the EU’s performance in the UNSC. For this reason, we have chosen to rely not so much on the voting behaviour of EU member states in the UNSC but mainly on their (co-)sponsorship of resolutions as an indicator of their active engagement in UNSC political functioning.3 Third, the use of the identified indicators of the analytical framework assumes a clear benchmark of objectives in the first place, upon which performance can be analyzed. The bottom line of our analysis is the European Security Strategy and the overarching EU security objectives identified there. Our assessment evolves along two thematic axes: first, the contribution
of EU member states in the general UNSC functioning and second, the engagement of EU member states in the different stages of the UNSC reform process. As regards the former, the UNSC is the most important political organ of the UN (Lowe et al. 2008; Malone 2007). As regards the latter, the EU as proponent of ‘effective multilateralism’ should be particularly interested in the UNSC becoming more representative and legitimized. In that respect, the reform of the UN system in general and the UNSC more specifically constitutes a critical test for the assessment of the EU’s ‘multilateral’ credentials (Chevallard 2005: 23). The timespans of the two thematic axes differ: in the former, we place particular emphasis on the last decade and especially on post-Lisbon developments, whereas the reform case constitutes an evolutionary process rather than a one-off opportunity and as such we look at it from the early 1990s when it first came to the foreground (Missiroli 2005: 42). Our research draws on verbatim records of the UNSC, the UNGA, and Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) meetings as well as relevant secondary literature, especially related to country-specific foreign-policy objectives and priorities. In the next section, we focus on the EU member states’ contributions to
UNSC functioning, before moving on to the examination of the UNSC reform debate. Following that, we assess EU-27 performance in the UNSC and discuss the implications of our findings for the broader research project.
The EU Member States at the UNSC