Conclusion and perspectives
Within the most recent decade, the European Union’s engagement in global governance institutions has changed profoundly and has generally become more sustained and consistent. The European Union has declared effective multilateralism to be a key foreign policy objective and, invests heavily in international organizations. However, a significant variation in engagement across policy fields is also part of the general pattern and, in some issue areas, continuity is more pronounced than change. Thus, it is telling that even within a field such as international political economy, which should be a heartland for a player like the European Union, the European Council Conclusions from December 1998 claim that ‘[i]t is imperative that the Community should play its full role in international monetary and economic policy co-operation within fora like the G-7 and the IMF’, whereas a decade on the Treaty of Lisbon explicitly refers to the need ‘to secure the euro’s place in the international monetary system’ and ‘to ensure unified representation within the international financial institutions and conferences’ (Treaty of Lisbon, Article 115 C). The field of defence displays similar features. Since defence policy was included directly in the European Union’s policy portfolio in 1998 – after having been dealt with by the substitute organization, the Western European Union – common European capabilities in terms of institutions and military forces have been developed and this alone can rightly be characterized as a revolution in European defence. However, the overwhelmingly major part of European military forces has remained more or less as it was a decade ago. Actually, if the principle of subsidiarity was applied to the defence sector, the policy competences of EU member states should be allocated to the European level exactly because they cannot be performed efficiently at the national level.