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Foreign PolicyTheories, Actors, Cases

Foreign Policy: Theories, Actors, Cases (3rd edn)

Steve Smith, Amelia Hadfield, and Tim Dunne
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date: 21 February 2024

p. 43122. What kind of power? European Union enlargement and beyondlocked

p. 43122. What kind of power? European Union enlargement and beyondlocked

  • Lisbeth Aggestam


This chapter examines the complexity of the European Union as a foreign policy actor by focusing on its so-called Big Bang enlargement. Three of the largest EU members — Britain, France, and Germany — differed in their beliefs about the implications of enlargement for their own national interests, shifts to the existing balance of power within the EU, the impact on the functioning of EU institutions, and the future of the integration process. The chapter first provides an overview of EU foreign policy before discussing the historic decision to enlarge the EU in 2004 and 2007. In particular, it analyses the significance of European norms in reshaping member states’ interests and the supranational role of the European Commission in framing and implementing the decision to enlarge the EU. It also considers the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) as an alternative when the powerful instrument of the EU enlargement is no longer available.

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