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The EU's Decision TrapsComparing Policies$
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Gerda Falkner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199596225

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199596225.001.0001

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The EU's Foreign and Security Policy

The EU's Foreign and Security Policy

Incremental Upgrading of Common Interests and the Effects of Institutionalized Cooperation

(p.162) 10 The EU's Foreign and Security Policy
The EU's Decision Traps

Nicole Alecu de Flers

Laura Chappell

Patrick Müller

Oxford University Press

As decision-making in European foreign and security policy has remained an intergovernmental process where unanimous decision-making is the norm, this policy field seems a likely case for becoming entangled in the ‘joint-decision trap’. Nevertheless, this chapter reveals that through various mechanisms, the member states have managed to escape the trap to an extent that many analysts had not expected. Besides functional adaptation to changed external circumstances, learning from joint foreign policy experiences — particularly from the failure to address joint problems — is identified as an important mechanism. Additionally, the institutionalization of European foreign policy cooperation has facilitated the emergence of important procedural and substantive EU norms which, through elite socialisation processes, influence the outcome of policy-making. This is illustrated in the case study on the EU's military mission EUFOR RD Congo, which was successfully deployed even though key participating states like Germany and Poland have no immediate defence interests in Africa.

Keywords:   European Security and Defence Policy, Common Security and Defence Policy, EUFOR RD Congo, Poland, Germany, joint-decision trap, socialization, learning

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