EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Document 12016E208

EU external action

EU external action

 

SUMMARY OF:

Treaty on European Union (TEU) Articles 21-46 — the EU’s external action and the common foreign and security policy

Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) Articles 205-222 — EU’s External Action

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THESE TREATY ARTICLES?

They aim to provide the EU with the necessary instruments to provide assistance to, cooperate with and develop relations and partnerships with non-EU countries, including through international agreements, as well as with international, regional or global organisations, in pursuit of the objectives of the EU’s external action as set out in Article 21 TEU.

KEY POINTS

Article 21 TEU sets out the principles on which the EU’s external action is based and its goals which include:

  • safeguarding its values, fundamental interests, security, independence and integrity;
  • consolidating and supporting democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the principles of international law;
  • preserving peace, prevent conflicts and strengthening international security.

Article 21 also requires the EU to ensure consistency between EU external action and other policy areas.The EU’s external action covers 6 domains:

1. Common foreign and security policy (including the common security and defence policy) — Articles 23-46 TEU

2. Development cooperation — Articles 208-211 TFEU

  • The main long-term aim of EU development cooperation is to eradicate poverty in the world by promoting the sustainable economic, social and environmental development of developing countries.

3. Humanitarian Aid — Article 214 TFEU

  • EU humanitarian aid operations are designed to provide ad hoc assistance and relief and protection for people in non-EU countries who are victims of natural or man-made disasters.

4. Assistance — Articles 212-213 TFEU

  • The EU can provide assistance, including financial assistance, to non-EU countries other than developing countries. Such action must be consistent with EU development policy.

5. Trade — Articles 205-207 TFEU

  • The EU’s common trade policy is an exclusive EU competence.
  • The European Parliament is co-legislator with the Council on trade matters.
  • The EU customs union must contribute to:
    • the harmonious development of world trade;
    • the progressive abolition of restrictions on international trade and on foreign direct investment; and
    • the lowering of customs and other barriers.

6. Solidarity clause — Article 222 TFEU

The solidarity clause provides the basis for arrangements allowing the EU and the EU countries to act jointly and use the instruments at their disposal:

  • to prevent the terrorist threat in the territory of an EU country;
  • to protect an EU country from any terrorist attack and assist them in such event;
  • to provide assistance to an EU country which is the victim of a natural or man-made disaster.

BACKGROUND

For more information, see:

MAIN DOCUMENTS

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 1 — General provisions on the Union’s external action — Article 21 (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 28-29)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 1 — General provisions on the Union’s external action — Article 22 (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 29-30)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 1 — Common provisions — Article 23 (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 30)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 1 — Common provisions — Article 24 (ex Article 11 TEU) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 30-31)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 1 — Common provisions — Article 25 (ex Article 12 TEU) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 31)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 1 — Common provisions — Article 26 (ex Article 13 TEU) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 31)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 1 — Common provisions — Article 27 (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 32)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 1 — Common provisions — Article 28 (ex Article 14 TEU) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 32)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 1 — Common provisions — Article 29 (ex Article 15 TEU) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 33)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 1 — Common provisions — Article 30 (ex Article 22 TEU) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 33)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 1 — Common provisions — Article 31 (ex Article 23 TEU) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 33-34)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 1 — Common provisions — Article 32 (ex Article 16 TEU) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 34)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 1 — Common provisions — Article 33 (ex Article 18 TEU) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 34)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 1 — Common provisions — Article 34 (ex Article 19 TEU) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 35)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 1 — Common provisions — Article 35 (ex Article 20 TEU) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 35)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 1 — Common provisions — Article 36 (ex Article 21 TEU) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 35-36)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 1 — Common provisions — Article 37 (ex Article 24 TEU) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 36)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 1 — Common provisions — Article 38 (ex Article 25 TEU) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 36)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 1 — Common provisions — Article 39 (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 36)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 1 — Common provisions — Article 40 (ex Article 47 TEU) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 37)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 1 — Common provisions — Article 41 (ex Article 28 TEU) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 37-38)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 2 — Provisions on the common security and defence policy — Article 42 (ex Article 17 TEU) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 38-39)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 2 — Provisions on the common security and defence policy — Article 43 (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 39)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 2 — Provisions on the common security and defence policy — Article 44 (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 39-40)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 2 — Provisions on the common security and defence policy — Article 45 (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 40)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union — Title V — General provisions on the Union’s external action and specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Chapter 2 — Specific provisions on the common foreign and security policy — Section 2 — Provisions on the common security and defence policy — Article 46 (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 40-41)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Five — The Union’s external action — Title I — General provisions on the Union’s external action — Article 205 (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 139)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Five — The Union’s external action — Title II — Common commercial policy — Article 206 (ex Article 131 TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 139)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Five — The Union’s external action — Title II — Common commercial policy — Article 207 (ex Article 133 TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 140-141)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Five — The Union’s external action — Title III — Cooperation with third countries and humanitarian aid — Chapter 1 — Development cooperation — Article 208 (ex Article 177 TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 141)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Five — The Union’s external action — Title III — Cooperation with third countries and humanitarian aid — Chapter 1 — Development cooperation — Article 209 (ex Article 179 TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 141)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Five — The Union’s external action — Title III — Cooperation with third countries and humanitarian aid — Chapter 1 — Development cooperation — Article 210 (ex Article 180 TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 142)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Five — The Union’s external action — Title III — Cooperation with third countries and humanitarian aid — Chapter 1 — Development cooperation — Article 211 (ex Article 181 TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 142)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Five — The Union’s external action — Title III — Cooperation with third countries and humanitarian aid — Chapter 2 — Economic, financial and technical cooperation with third countries — Article 212 (ex Article 181a TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 142)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Five — The Union’s external action — Title III — Cooperation with third countries and humanitarian aid — Chapter 2 — Economic, financial and technical cooperation with third countries — Article 213 (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 143)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Five — The Union’s external action — Title III — Cooperation with third countries and humanitarian aid — Chapter 3 — Humanitarian aid — Article 214 (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 143)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Five — The Union’s external action — Title IV — Restrictive measures — Article 215 (ex Article 301 TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 144)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Five — The Union’s external action — Title V — International agreements — Article 216 (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 144)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Five — The Union’s external action — Title V — International agreements — Article 217 (ex Article 310 TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 144)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Five — The Union’s external action — Title V — International agreements — Article 218 (ex Article 300 TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 144-146)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Five — The Union’s external action — Title V — International agreements — Article 219 (ex Article 111(1) to (3) and (5) TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 146-147)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Five — The Union’s external action — Title VI — The Union’s relations with international organisations and third countries and Union delegations — Article 220 (ex Articles 302 to 304 TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 147)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Five — The Union’s external action — Title VI — The Union’s relations with international organisations and third countries and Union delegations — Article 221 (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 147)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Five — The Union’s external action — Title VII — Solidarity clause — Article 222 (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 148)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 1-388)

last update 06.07.2018

Top