Commonality in EU’s foreign policy under intergovernmentalism : the case study of EU’s proactive reaction towards Iran / Wiraj Sripong = การมีนโยบายต่างประเทศร่วมกันอย่างมีเอกภาพภายใต้กรอบการตัดสินใจแบบรัฐบาลสัมพันธนิยม : กรณีศึกษาการทูตเชิงรุกของสหภาพยุโรปต่ออิหร่าน
Since its inception, the EU’s foreign policy has been beset by skepticism. Many academics claim that the EU lacks of capacity to have a strong common foreign policy as the decision-making is constraint by the use of intergovernmental framework. However, it is not always the case that the framework of intergovermentalism failed to help the EU to form a common EU’s foreign policy. Arguably, the history of EU clearly demonstrated that EU’s foreign policy has gradually evolved under intergovernmental framework. In this context, the idea of creating a supranational body in terms of foreign affairs was out of the question. However, despite this rejection of supranationality, fundamentally the use of intergovernmentalism is widely accepted by the international community. In general within the EU institutions supranational and intergovernmental aspects can be observed. Yet in terms of economic and social affairs, the EU institutions take full responsibility in maintaining order. Thus, in matters vital to individual national interest, intergovernmental approach is applied. As the EU’s intergovernmental framework has been used since 1957, the application of the concept of intergovernmentalism has become more flexible. In this adapted form used in the EU, intergovernmentalism does not limit itself to cooperation between states anymore. Therefore, the concept has expanded its theoretical parameters to allow integration in both high and low politics. For example, in the negotiations with Iran, the intergovernmental mechanism of CFSP offered the EU member states the ability to respond proactively in a cooperative manner to the Iranian nuclear problem. Since 2003, as the IAEA along with international community was reacting to the Iranian nuclear issue, the EU has been at the forefront, rapidly responding to developments. The EU Big three’s first endeavor in dealing with the issue resulted in a breakthrough. After the EU adopted a strategy against WMD proliferation and a Security Strategy in December 2003, it became even more systematic in negotiations with Iran, utilizing ‘dual approaches’ of coercive diplomacy and continued dialogue. What is more, the EU High Representative for CFSP’s addition to the E3 negotiation team displayed coherence in terms of foreign policy across the entire EU. Some other factors related to the expanding foreign affairs role of the EU in effectively applying its influence in this particular international issue were the experience of the Iraq war, the Iranian positive perceptions towards the EU, the relative inaction of other major powers coupled with the specific nature of the EUs diplomacy helped the EU to be proactive in negotiating with Iran.