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Chapter

This chapter examines the problem of coherence in the European Union's international relations. The EU consists of an extremely complex system of institutional structures. One of the implications of this complexity is coherence, or the ambition and necessity to bring the various parts of the EU's external relations together to increase strategic convergence and ensure procedural efficiency. The chapter first provides a historical overview of the concept of coherence and the debates around it before discussing different conceptual dimensions of coherence. It then describes the neutral, benign, and malign ‘faces’ that coherence assumes in political and academic debates. Based on this conceptual framework, the chapter explores the current legal basis of the Treaty of Lisbon as well as the EU's comprehensive approach to external action in crises and conflicts as one of the key political initiatives aimed at fostering the objectives laid down in primary law.

Chapter

Michael Smith and Rebecca Steffenson

This chapter examines the evolution of the European Union's relations with the United States. More specifically, it looks at the ways in which EU–US relations enter into the international relations of the EU as well as the implications for key areas of the EU's growing international activity. The chapter begins with an overview of the changing shape and focus of the EU–US relationship as it enters into economic, political, and security questions. It then considers the impact of EU–US relations on the EU's system of international relations, on the EU's role in the processes of international relations, and on the EU's position as a ‘power’ in international relations. It shows that the EU–US relationship has played a key (and contradictory) role in development of the EU's foreign policy mechanisms.

Chapter

20. Acting for Europe  

Reassessing the European Union’s Role in International Relations

This chapter summarizes the volume's major findings and revisits the three perspectives on the European Union: as a system of international relations, as a participant in wider international processes, and as a power in the world. It also considers the usefulness of the three main theoretical approaches in international relations as applied to the EU's external relations: realism, liberalism, and constructivism. Furthermore, it emphasizes three things which it is clear the EU is not, in terms of its international role: it is not a straightforward ‘pole’ in a multipolar system; it is not merely a subordinate subsystem of Western capitalism, and/or a province of an American world empire, as claimed by both the anti-globalization movement and the jihadists; it is not a channel by which political agency is surrendering to the forces of functionalism and globalization. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the EU's positive contributions to international politics.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on the European Union as a subsystem of international relations. It examines the following questions, taking into account the historical context in which EU foreign policy has developed as well as the theoretical pluralism that has characterized its study. First, how has the EU dealt with its own international relations internally? Second, what are the ideas and principles underlying EU foreign policy? Third, what is the EU's collective action capacity in relation to the rest of the world? The chapter illustrates interstate dynamics as a result of European integration by focusing on the cases of France, Germany, and Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg). It also considers the EU's international identity and its role as a collective actor.

Chapter

3. Engaging the World  

The European Union and the Processes of International Relations

Geoffrey Edwards

This chapter examines the ways in which the European Union enters into international relations and engages with key processes in the world arena. It first provides a historical background on the interaction of an evolving EU with the rest of the world before discussing the main patterns of relationships and interactions in the areas in which Europe has been active. It then considers two centres of enduring tensions in the EU's external engagement: EU's engagement with processes of international cooperation and conflict, and with processes of global governance. It also looks at tensions that arise between the collective ‘European’ and national positions. They are between: Europeanization and national foreign policy; rhetoric and achievement; big and small member states; old and new Europe; and the concept of civilian power Europe and the EU as an international security actor with access to military forces.

Chapter

Stephan Keukeleire and Tom De Bruyn

This chapter examines how the European Union is challenged by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and other emerging powers, along with its implications for the world order. It first provides an overview of the nature of the BRICS phenomenon before discussing the EU's contractual and political relations, as well as ‘strategic partnership’, with the BRICS countries and other emerging powers. It then considers the EU–BRICS relationship on the basis of three key perspectives: the EU as a subsystem of international relations, the EU as a power in international relations, and the EU as part of the wider processes of international relations. In particular, it explores the EU's capacity to generate external collective action towards the BRICS countries and other emerging powers. It also analyses EU–BRICS relations within the context of shifts in multilateralism and in the global governance architecture.

Chapter

This chapter deals with recent theoretical work on the European Union. Three broad analytical pathways that depart from the classical debate are discussed in this chapter: comparative political science; a revitalized international relations (IR); and ‘critical theories’. Two additional pathways—governance and normative political theory—are considered in other chapters (see Chapters 7 and 9). This chapter discusses in turn the contribution to EU studies of comparative political science in general and new institutionalist political science, and in particular the emergence of social constructivist approaches to the EU, IR’s contribution to the theorization of EU external action, together with approaches from the subfield of international political economy (IPE), and a variety of critical theoretical readings of the EU. The chapter also explores how IR theories might be brought back into EU studies. The purpose of the chapter is to show how the EU still raises significant questions about the nature of authority, statehood, and the organization of the international system. These questions are doubly significant in the present period of crisis, where the issue of ‘disintegration’ comes to the fore.

Chapter

This chapter examines the evolution of the European Union's development policy since the Treaty of Rome. It shows how the EU has used development policy as part of its wider external relations agenda in an attempt to establish itself as an influential global actor. The chapter first considers the transformation in the EU's (post)colonial development policy before discussing the changes introduced since 2000, including the attempt to project a common vision on international development and to promote synergies between foreign aid and other policies. In particular, it analyses the EU partnership with ACP (African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States), the Lomé Convention, and the Cotonou Partnership Agreement. The chapter concludes with an assessment of EU development policy in the context of international relations.

Chapter

Daniel Kenealy, John Peterson, and Richard Corbett

This introductory chapter discusses the practical and analytical reasons for studying the European Union. It also considers some of the main conceptual approaches to understanding the EU: international relations approaches; the comparative politics approach; the sociological/cultural approach; and the public policy approach. Furthermore, it outlines three broad themes that help the reader make sense of the EU: experimentation and change; power sharing and consensus; and scope and capacity. Finally, it provides an overview of the chapters that follow, which cover topics ranging from an historical overview of the EU’s development to the EU’s relations with the wider world, EU enlargement, the EU’s foray into security policy, and the EU’s growing role as a global actor.

Chapter

John Peterson, Daniel Kenealy, and Richard Corbett

The EU is extraordinary, complex and—in important respects—unique. This concluding chapter revisits three key themes that guide understanding of the EU: experimentation and change; power sharing and consensus; and scope and capacity. It also returns to the question: how can we best explain the EU and how it works? The chapter reviews leading theoretical approaches and identifies what each approach claims is most important to explain about the EU, and why. Finally, the chapter confronts the question: ‘Where do we go from here’? Does knowing how the EU works give us clues about how it might work in the future?

Book

Christopher Hill, Michael Smith, and Sophie Vanhoonacker

International Relations and the European Union takes a unique approach by incorporating the study of the EU's world role into the wider field of international relations. The text explains the EU's role in the contemporary world. Beginning with an examination of theoretical frameworks and approaches, the text goes on to address the institutions and processes that surround the EU's international relations. Key policy areas, such as security and trade, are outlined in detail, alongside the EU's relations with specific countries, including the United States, China, India, and Russia. Updates for the third edition include expanded discussions of three key perspectives to provide a rounded picture of the EU's place in the international system: as a sub-system of international relations, as part of the process of international relations, and as a power in its own right.

Chapter

Jolyon Howorth

This chapter examines the European Union's efforts since the late 1990s to become an increasingly autonomous security and defence actor, albeit one that focused overwhelmingly on overseas missions connected with crisis management and embryonic nation building. It first provides an overview of EU security and defence in the context of international relations before discussing the theoretical approaches to the emergence of the EU security and defence policy. It then considers the factors that drove the EU to tackle new and significant security challenges, along with the implications for international relations of the EU's overseas interventions, both as a military and as a civilian crisis management entrepreneur. It also explores the ramifications of the Treaty of Lisbon, the 2016 European Global Strategy, and Brexit for the further development of Europe's security and defence policy, in the context of new and serious security threats in its Southern and Eastern neighbourhoods.

Chapter

This edition examines the contexts in which the European Union has reflected and affected major forces and changes in international relations (IR) by drawing on concepts such as balance of power, multipolarity, multilateralism, interdependence, and globalization. It explores the nature of policymaking in the EU's international relations and the ways in which EU policies are pursued within the international arena. Topics include the EU's role in the global political economy, how the EU has developed an environmental policy, and how it has attempted to graft a common defence policy onto its generalized foreign and security policy. This chapter discusses the volume's methodological assumptions and considers three perspectives on IR and the EU: the EU as a subsystem of IR, the EU and the processes of IR, and the EU as a power in IR. It also provides an overview of the chapters that follow.

Chapter

Sophie Vanhoonacker and Karolina Pomorska

This chapter examines the institutional context of the European Union's international relations. EU institutions such as the Council, Commission, European Parliament, and the Court of Justice play substantially different roles depending on the policy area. Such variations reflect differing paths of evolution and the different degrees of integration in different areas of external policy. The chapter first considers how we should think about the roles of institutions before discussing some of the key ideas about the ways in which the EU's institutions work. It then explores how institutions affect three policy areas: the Common Commercial Policy, development cooperation policy and humanitarian aid, and European foreign policy and security cooperation. It also describes four propositions that explain why institutions matter and shows that that change in EU membership and in the institutional arrangements in the global arena has had important implications for the development of the EU's ‘internal’ institutions.

Chapter

8. Implementation  

Making the European Union’s International Relations Work

Michael E. Smith

This chapter examines the policy instruments used by the European Union to translate its common interests into collective action in the international arena. It first considers the problem of implementation in EU foreign policy before discussing the EU's own resources in external relations/third countries as well as the role of member states' resources in EU's external relations. It then explores the instruments of EU foreign policy, which can be grouped into diplomatic, economic, and military/civilian capabilities. It also analyses the credibility and capability gaps in the EU's policy implementation, noting that there exists a key divide between the ‘low politics’ of economic affairs and the ‘high politics’ of security/defence affairs. The chapter suggests that the EU's unique capacity for policy implementation in the area of international relations can be very erratic.

Chapter

This chapter examines the European Union’s (EU’s) Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). It tells the story of increasing co-operation between member states on foreign policy matters, first with European Political Co-operation (EPC) and, since the 1990s, with CFSP and a Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The chapter highlights the internal dynamics and external events that drove the member states towards such co-operation and considers the most recent example of such efforts: the 2017 attempt to create a system of permanent structured co-operation (PESCO). However, it is noted that the EU remains far from having a truly supranational foreign policy and there remains a reluctance from member states to push much further integration, given states’ keen desire to remain sovereign in this area. Finally, the chapter considers the EU’s status as a ‘power’ in international relations, noting that it has diminished in important respects since 2003, but remains an important economic power.

Chapter

Katrin Voltmer and Gary Rawnsley

This chapter examines the role of the media in processes of democratization. It considers the media’s political, economic, and social environment both in their domestic and international contexts. It also explains how new communications technologies have made it increasingly difficult for authoritarian regimes to hermetically seal their borders to prevent the flow of information in and out of the country. The most noticeable influence of international communications in the process of democratization is the ‘demonstration effect’. The chapter also discusses media-state relations, how market conditions and commercialization affect the media’s ability to fulfil their democratic role, and issues of journalistic professionalism and the quality of reporting. It argues that democracy and the media need each other.