European Union is an international non-governmental organization formed by the Maastricht Treaty on the 1st of November 1993. It was a treaty that was coined to enhance political and economic integration in Europe by; creating a common currency, designing unified security and foreign policy, unified citizenship rights, and advancing cooperation in the sectors of judiciary, immigration, and asylum. European Union has a membership of 24 European countries. However, in 2020, The United Kingdom, a founding member of the EU, left the organization.
It is advantageous if European Union speaks in one voice because it increases the degree of unity amongst the member states. With the expanded agreement, the European Union has become well positioned to secure all its broad and specific objectives, achieve its regional and global goals, implement its regional and international policies and programs, and execute its roles. For example, the European Union plays a critical role in diplomacy, trade, promotion of human rights, humanitarian aid, economic and social development. The EU is also working with global organizations: In its diplomacy role, European Union has conducted international relations by peacefully negotiating alliances, treaties and agreements regionally and globally. The EU has also been witnessed supporting peace talks worldwide to facilitate solutions to global conflicts.
For example, in 2015, EU-led diplomacy reached a historic international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, where Iran pledged never to seek, develop or acquire nuclear weapons (Samore et al., 2015). European Union is currently chairing the committee overseeing this agreement’s implementation. Also, in its diplomacy role, the European Union has been partnering with the United Nations. The EU’s relationship with the United Nations is clearly outlined in the Treaty of Lisbon. For the EU to successfully continue executing its diplomacy role globally, European Union member nations need to speak with one voice.
The European Union has also been involved in a series of efforts to integrate Europe since World War II. The success of all these objectives, roles, and goals can only be recorded if all the European Union member countries are speaking in one voice. Speaking in one voice by the European Union member states is advantageous because it ensures a responsible neighborhood in Europe. Speaking in one voice means limited, conflicting opinions. It represents a European regional society where conflict is viewed from Marry Parker Follett’s point of view of constructive conflict. That conflict is considered not only negatively but also positively; that “conflict should not be taken as the wasteful outbreak of compatibilities but a normal process through which socially valuable differences register themselves for the enrichment of all concerned” (Follett., 2011). This kind of regional society promotes good foreign relations among European states.
Good interstate relations promote regional peace, an essential element for economic, social, and human development. Speaking in one voice is also advantageous as it creates a perfect regional environment for implementing the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP). ENP was established in 2004 to support and foster stability, security, and prosperity in the European Union’s neighborhood. ENP was subjected to a review in 2015, a review that led to a change to the cooperation’s framework and proposed ways to build more effective partnerships and relations in the neighborhood (Smith., 2005).
The ENP aimed to maintain robust, friendly, and solid foreign relations with countries bordering European Union member states. It also entails the promotion of good governance, democracy, and human rights. It also had objectives and aims of opening trade and implementing many policies on migration and visa issues. All these proposals are advantageous only upon being implemented. Their successful implementation can only be realized if European Union member states speak with one voice; this shows how helpful European Union members talk in one voice.
Moreover, speaking in one voice is advantageous as it leads to effective and harmonious coordination of the European Union’s institutional and political leadership structure. The European Union’s institutional leadership is composed of; the European Parliament, the European Council, the European Union’s European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, and The European Central Bank. Most of the important offices of the European Institutional offices are located in Brussels, Belgium. Brussels serves as the headquarters of; the European Union, European Council, and the Council of the European Union (Tömmel & Verdun., 2017).
The positions of leadership in these European Union’s leading institutions are occupied by; the heads of states of the member states, bureaucrats from different member states, and selected national leaders from various member states. Therefore, speaking with one voice leads to zero or very minimal cases of ideological differences amongst the personnel occupying the leadership positions in the European Union’s Institutional leadership structure, leading to effective and harmonious leadership of the EU.
When European Union member states speak in one voice, it becomes advantageous as it strengthens the coordination of the EU’s external affairs and increases its foreign relations. With the current trend and context of geopolitics, the emerging and pressing transnational issues, including but not limited to globalization, climate change, unilateralism among significant powers, and immigration, the EU can only maximize its international interest upon designing and formulating a standard foreign policy for European Union member states. This will give them the power to approach the global system with significant bargaining power and a chance to influence global policies and trends and international politics. For example, on climate change, the European Union has been at the front line of global efforts to combat climate change and played an instrumental role in securing the first universal.
The legally binding global deal was adopted in December 2015, in France, at the Paris Climate Conference (Glanemann et al., 2020). The European Union also has a standard trade policy, whereby the international trade agreements are negotiated out and signed by the EU and not individual member states. This has made the European Union the world’s largest trading bloc. These real EU’s continued strength and prowess in the international system is in place due to harmonious relations amongst EU member states. Therefore, it is advantageous if European Union member states speak in one voice
Speaking with one voice is advantageous because it strengthens the European Union’s economic block. European Union was initially formed by the merger of the three European organizations in 1967; the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the European Economic Community (EEC), and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom).
These three organizations were consolidated under a common governing organ composed of representatives from the member states. After the unification of interests of individual member states into a common interest, this merger came into place, the realization of a common goal amongst member states, and agreeing to speak in one voice. Otherwise, the three founder organizations would have considered continuing perusing their objectives independently. Therefore speaking in one voice is advantageous because it enables the member countries to respect the terms of the founding treaty, which brought together the 24 founding states of the European Union.
This brings about the harmonious running of the European Union’s affairs, attaining the objectives and goals of the EU (both the classical and reviewed goals and objectives), and implementing the European Union’s policies and programs (both regional and international policies and programs). Failure to speak with one voice amongst European Union member states has registered various challenges, the most recent one being 2020’s BREXIT, where The United Kingdom, a founder member of the European Union, left the union. It is therefore essential if European Member states speak with one voice.
One voice for the EU strengthens relations amongst member states hence keeping them together. It is advantageous when the European Union member countries stay together because this will make the EU strong enough to continue pursuing its global missions of promoting development, protecting human rights, crisis response, and humanitarian aid. European Union has a global development partner is the world’s largest donor of development aid. The European Union and its member states are on record for providing more than half of the official development assistance annually.
The official development assistance has brought positive changes to millions of livelihoods globally. As a development partner, the European Union has greatly supported the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, whose agreement was reached in September 2015. This agreement did put in place seventeen development goals, the first goal being to end poverty in all its forms everywhere (Lu et al., 2015). Besides being a major supporter, the European Union is committed to implementing these seventeen UN Sustainable Development Goals. Another European Union’s central global mission has been on Human Rights policy.
The union has, on several occasions, been a great defender of human rights globally. Human Rights has been made a central aspect of the European Union’s foreign relations. The union has expressed this focus in political talks and treaties with third world countries, in its international development programs and in its involvement in multilateral platforms as the United Nations. The European Union has formulated human rights policy guidelines covering vital areas such as torture, freedom of expression (offline and online), and the death penalty.
The European Union’s Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights improves respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in states and regions where these human rights are at most risk. The European Union and its member states have also been the world’s leading donors of humanitarian aid. Through the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department’s coordination, the EU has provided life-saving aid to the victims of calamities, refugees, and vulnerable people in dire need. On international emergencies, pandemics, and crises of all kinds, the European Union has been witnessed responding in an organized and well-coordinated manner.
During such unprecedented times, the European Union has been seen bringing together the European Union’s emergency tools (humanitarian aid and civil protection), which involve providing victims food, shelter, clean water, and healthcare services. These EU’s global missions are of great importance to the global human population; hence the European Union should speak in one voice to create a humble environment for the continued execution of these missions.
Follett, M. P. (2011). Constructive conflict. Sociology of Organizations: Structures and Relationships, 417.
Glanemann, N., Willner, S. N., & Levermann, A. (2020). Paris Climate Agreement passes the cost-benefit test. Nature communications, 11(1), 1-11.
Lu, Y., Nakicenovic, N., Visbeck, M., & Stevance, A. S. (2015). Policy: Five priorities for the UN sustainable development goals. Nature News, 520(7548), 432.
Samore, G. S., Bunn, M. G., Allison, G. T., Arnold, A., Burns, R. N., Feldman, S., … & Tobey, W. H. (2015). The Iran nuclear deal: A definitive guide.
Smith, K. E. (2005). The outsiders: the European neighborhood policy. International affairs, 81(4), 757-773.
Tömmel, I., & Verdun, A. (2017). Political leadership in the European Union: an introduction. Journal of European Integration, 39(2), 103-112.