Allen.doc - The Europeanization of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office David Allen DRAFT NOT FOR CITATION In Ian Bache’s introductory paper1

Allen.doc - The Europeanization of the Foreign and...

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The Europeanization of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. David Allen DRAFT: NOT FOR CITATION In Ian Bache’s introductory paper 1 europeanization was characterized as the impact of the European Union on the ‘politics and policy of its member States’ (p.1). The study of the FCO will concentrate mainly on what one might describe as the impact on the UK polity (in this case the FCO and its changing role in UK policy- making and implementation) rather than on UK politics or UK foreign policy. It may well be the case that the book chapter would benefit from being expanded to include an evaluation of the impact of EU membership on British foreign policy. Defining europeanization as taking place when ‘something in the national (UK) political system is affected by something European’ 2 or as the ‘administrative adaptation of the national(UK) state to membership of the EU’ or as ‘domestic change caused by European integration’ serves to clarify what is meant by europeanization ( although it raise some interesting questions about how easy it is in practice to make the distinction between the EU and Europe more generally) but it still leaves unresolved the question of cause and effect. The FCO has been affected by UK membership of the EU but the specific nature of the EU’s foreign policy competences and procedures (especially the CFSP) have themselves been affected by the input of the FCO and its diplomats. The FCO has played a major role in the evolution of the CFSP ( ? from an intergovernmental to a transgovernmental mode of policy making) but it is the very nature of the CFSP ( in particular its 1
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recent ‘Brusselsisation’) that we might then want to identify as having a specific impact on the FCO. Thus europeanization is not just about the impact of one level of governance (EU) on another (the UK central government); it is inevitably about a circular process with constant feedback. Even if one agrees that to look for evidence of europeanization is to look for evidence of domestic change related to EU membership one is still left with the problem of establishing cause and effect. Many of the changes /adaptations that the FCO has experienced in recent years coincide with Britain’s’ EU membership but they can also be seen as responses to broader trends in international relations such as interdependence, globalization and the general ‘blurring of boundaries’ between the domestic and the foreign. The difficulty of identifying the causes of change in this area are nicely illustrated by the recent publication of two similar volumes. In Foreign Ministries: Change and Adaptation (Macmillan 1999) Brian Hocking has edited a book of contributions that examines changes in a selection of foreign ministries and diplomatic services drawn from all corners of the world.
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