Proactive foreign and security policy

The roots of the current foreign and security policy are to be found in the process called European political cooperation, which was launched in 1970, to coordinate the position of EU countries on big foreign policy issues of the day. Decisions were taken by consensus and it sometimes proved hard to find the required unanimity on sensitive issues where the interests of the different countries diverged. As the EU grew in size and entered new policy areas, it intensified efforts to play an international diplomatic and security role more in line with its economic power. The conflicts that broke out in south-eastern Europe in the 1990s after the collapse of Yugoslavia convinced EU leaders of the need for effective joint action. More recently, the fight against international terrorism has strengthened this conviction. The principle of a common foreign and security policy (CFSP) was formalized in the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. This defined the types of diplomatic and political activities the EU could undertake in conflict prevention and resolution.