Is the European Union speaking with one voice in Brussels, Vienna and Strasbourg? - The EU at the OSCE and the Council of Europe during the Ukraine crisis
The European Union has increasingly engaged in formulating a common foreign policy, an aim that has been reinforced through the Lisbon Treaty and the European Security Strategy of 2003. The EU puts considerable effort into coordinating the member states’ positions also in other international fora in order to “speak with one voice” on all occasions. EU internal rules stipulate that the EU should formulate a common position and express it together in and through international multilateral organisations. This thesis will explore the EU’s foreign policy at the OSCE and the Council of Europe during the on-going Ukraine crisis. The crisis has been vividly debated both in the public and academic sphere. Previous research on inter-organisational relations has been largely concentrated on the EU’s relations with the UN. However, the latter has not had a prominent role in the current Ukraine crisis. Instead, European organisations have distinguished themselves, notably the OSCE and the Council of Europe. The EU is represented in these organisations both through their member States and through the European External Action Service, a feature that could be beneficial for coordination but also ambiguous and at worst even contra-productive when the EU wants to “speak with one voice”. Drawing on sociological role theory concepts, this thesis aims to explore how the EU has acted in these organisations during the crisis. It will argue that while the EU delegation has taken a strong role at the OSCE in speaking for and representing the EU member states (top-down Europeanization), the EU at the Council of Europe is still characterized by a high degree of bottom-up policies and lower role acceptance by the member states, which could be explained by a lack of (formal and informal) institutionalization of the EU delegation’s role in Strasbourg. Recent developed during the Ukraine crisis indicates however a trend towards top-down leadership.