The Treaty of Lisbon has created a new legal and institutional framework for the EU. The Treaty merges the European Community with the European Union and endows the latter with legal personality. It makes an end to the three pillar structure and includes several institutional innovations in the field of EU external relations, in particular the permanent President of the European Council, the transformation of the High Representative for the CFSP into a High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, a post culminated with that of Vice-President of the European Commission, and the creation of a European External Action Service. The Treaty, however, leaves many questions as to the operability of these mechanisms. Yet, the answers to the questions will have a direct impact on the way the European Union will play its role on the international plane and contribute towards enhancing regional and global stability and prosperity.
CLEER takes the Treaty provisions on the European Union’s institutional framework and its external policies (CFSP, CSDP, enlargement, ENP, trade, development), and the external dimension of the Union’s other policies as a point of departure for its Research Programme. In this framework, three clusters of concepts are set out to serve as tools for a legal analysis of the Unions’ actions in the world:
- the projection of EU norms abroad and the development of international law;
- the observance of international law and the reception thereof in the EU legal order;
- the coherence, consistency and effectiveness of the Unions’ external actions.
Derived from Articles 3 and 21 TEU, these concepts will be used both as independent topics for research and as guiding principles for studies on the EU’s external actions in designated fields. As to the latter, CLEER’s inter-faculty research focus is on the external dimension of those policies which are considered particularly relevant to evaluate the European Union’s contribution in enhancing global and regional stability and prosperity:
- the protection and promotion of economic and financial interests;
- the protection of the environment, climate and energy;
- the fight against illegal immigration and crime; and
- military security.
Current developments in these domains find themselves in flux at both the international and the European level and offer ample opportunities for inter-disciplinary research. At the crossroads of the above-mentioned concepts and policies, numerous specific fields of research will be explored.