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International Relations and the European Union

International Relations and the European Union (3rd edn)

Christopher Hill, Michael Smith, and Sophie Vanhoonacker
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date: 22 June 2024

p. 734. The European Union as a Powerlocked

p. 734. The European Union as a Powerlocked

  • Filippo Andreatta
  •  and Lorenzo Zambernardi


This chapter focuses on the European Union as a ‘power’ on the world stage. The persistent inability to develop a truly common foreign and security policy may raise serious doubts about the idea of the EU as a major ‘power’. However, the concept and reality of power should not be confused with the threat or the use of coercive force alone. The chapter first considers the elusive concept of power before discussing the distinction between ‘destructive’, ‘productive’, and ‘integrative’ power and connecting them to realism, liberalism, and constructivism, respectively. It then considers the role of Europe in the world and concludes with an overview of factors affecting the prospects for a European foreign policy.

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