The EU’s external relations are of a different order to national foreign policies; some prefer the term ‘international public policy’ as a descriptor of its action in world politics.1 The Union’s principal external policies are the Common Commercial Policy (CCP), Development Policy and CFSP, but these form just part of its security toolbox and it draws frequently on other policy elements. In the context of European security these include enlargement, strategic partnership (NATO, Russia), the Eastern Partnership and the Union for the Mediterranean (within the European Neighbourhood Policy) and Development Policy (Mauritania), which also has to be coordinated with EU Africa strategy. The Union’s character and external relations’ intergovernmental/Community

duality owes much to its development within the Cold War security environment. History bears strongly on contemporary EU objectives, preferred modus operandi and its distinctive external security relations narrative. Also, the EU has had to carve out space from within an existing architecture, undergo a steep learning curve, provide new capabilities and find ideological and institutional means by which it can export security in a collective, coordinated and effective manner. Its post-Cold War reforms have prompted much debate, ranging from whether limited military capabilities end the EU’s traditional civilian power status, through to the extent to which the process of constructing security ‘actorness’ is eclipsing its actual provision of security. This chapter begins with an outline of the importance of history in shaping the EU

as a security actor. It then considers the Union’s key external relations policies and what it has done to develop institutional capacity, accommodate issues of legal competency and improve decision-making and implementation since the Cold War. Particular attention is paid to the challenges of developing military capabilities, which has caused much debate and demonstrates starkly Member States’ determination to

retain sovereignty. Also, the European Security Strategy (ESS) of December 2003 is examined for what it reveals of the EU as a security actor. Finally, an examination is undertaken of how the EU fits into the continent’s security architecture.