Summary: The PSC is the political steering group for the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). It is made up of member states’ reps at ambassador level and is chaired by the European External Action Service (EEAS). It was originally a UK proposal to keep some measure of direct national input into the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) while making oversight less ad hoc. This came at the cost of institutionalising it in Brussels and is now at risk of increasingly being overwhelmed by the growing EEAS senior-level infrastructure.
At stake: It allows for direct national capital input into direction, but at the risk of assuming a measure of subsequent collective responsibility (ie bailing people out).
What they say: “A supranational culture is emerging from an intergovernmental process” – Professor Jolyon Howorth
Exposure: The PSC is currently a surviving element of EU intergovernmentalism, yet a tendency to ‘communitarise’ and ‘collectivise’ has already been noted. Proposed UK-EU association terms remain unclear, and so still risk excessive administrative ties.
Action needed: Emphasise that NATO is the institution of choice for security partnerships and minimise institutional exposure to deployments that go badly wrong. Even seeking observer status at this level is borderline inappropriate, as sending the wrong signals.