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What Role for the EU in Crisis Management? Definitions and Perceptions of the Petersberg Tasks.

Fabien Terpan
Sciences Po Grenoble
Fabien Terpan
Sciences Po Grenoble
Open Panel

Abstract

The kind of missions that might be implemented within the European Defence policy have first been defined by the WEU Council in the Petersberg hotel at the beginning of the 1990’s. The Petersberg Tasks were enclosed in the treaty on European Union after the entry into force of the Amsterdam treaty. They remained unchanged until the adoption of the Lisbon treaty, which amended the list of crisis management missions that are supposed to be undertaken under the auspices of the European Union (see article 43 TEU). The interpretation of these missions was not consensual in the years following the entry into force of the Maastricht treaty. Some Member States, including France, used to defend a very broad definition of the Petersberg Tasks whereas others, including the United Kingdom, rather confined themselves to a restrictive approach. The extensive interpretation has gained considerable credit, especially after the launching of the European Security and Defence Policy in 1999. This is an important evolution as the Petersberg tasks do not only depends on the EU treaty but also on the way Article 43 TEU is perceived by the actors (Member States and institutions). The aim of this paper is to describe the reality hidden behind Article 43 TEU. Who defines what the EU is supposed to do in crisis management? How the substance of Article 43 TEU can be interpreted? How shall we explain the evolution of this treaty provision? What role do the CSDP bodies and the military play in this debate? To answer these questions, we shall draw upon a constructivist perspective, while taking into account neo-institutionnalism and intergouvernmentalism.