Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 11/2010

Why the EU fails: Learning from past experiences to succeed better next time

Toby Archer, Timo Behr, Tuulia Nieminen

June 2010

Finnish Institute for International Affairs


Contemplating the reasons for "EU failure" might appear odd at the current moment of time. If anything, the European Union finally seems to be putting its house in order. The ratification of the Lisbon Treaty has ended the EU's decade long institutional impasse. For the first time in its history, the EU has appointed a President of the European Council and a powerful new High Representative for its Foreign and Security Policy. EU member states are in the process of creating a European External Action Service (EEAS) to represent their common interests abroad. And the list of countries knocking on the EU's doors seems to grow longer by the day. In light of these recent developments, as well as given the EU's historical success as a "peace project", there seem to be few apparent reasons to ponder EU failure. Doing so, to some, might even appear counterproductive.