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What is EU Foreign Policy?

The Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the European Union was established by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992. Among its aims are: to preserve peace and strengthen international security in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter; to promote international co-operation; and to develop and consolidate democracy and the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Amsterdam Treaty (1997) created the office of High Representative for CFSP whose role is to co-ordinate EU foreign policy and, in conjunction with the rotating Presidency, speak on behalf of the EU in agreed foreign policy matters.

Member states of the EU define the principles and general guidelines for the Common Foreign and Security Policy. On the basis of this, the Council of Ministers adopts ‘joint actions’ or ‘common positions’. (EULEX was founded by a Joint Action.)

A major component is the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The EULEX Mission is one of a number of CSDP Missions conducted by the European Union.

On 1 December 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force. The Treaty created the post of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

This post combines three functions: the Council’s representative for the CFSP, the President of the Foreign Affairs Council and a Vice-President of the Commission. At the moment, this post is held by Josep Borrell Fontelles.