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Cover International Relations and the European Union

13. An End to Enlargement: The EU, its Neighbourhood, and European Order  

Karen E. Smith

Between the period of the end of the Cold War and now, the European Union (EU) has enlarged four times. In 2016, on the eve of the Brexit referendum in the UK, it had a total membership of 28 countries, almost half of which (11 member states) are in Central and South-Eastern Europe. By enlarging, the EU wanted to consolidate the democratic and economic reforms in post-communist countries, and spread security and prosperity eastwards. Its enlargement policy involved an obvious carrot-and-stick policy, to encourage reforms, mainly through the application of membership conditionality. However, 30 or so years on from the end of the Cold War, the potential of EU enlargement to reshape European order is clearly currently in jeopardy: the fragile consensus favouring the enlargement project has become more brittle, and rather than generating a secure and prosperous European order, the EU has found itself surrounded by an ‘arc of crisis’, with wars and atrocities in its ‘backyard’. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 is proving to be the most serious threat to European order since the end of the Cold War. The EU will have to adjust to a much more insecure and threatening environment. The EU’s influence in its neighbourhood is tempered not just by Russia, but also by China and Turkey.

Chapter

Cover International Relations and the European Union

1. Introduction: Approaches and Concepts  

Christopher Hill, Michael Smith, and Sophie Vanhoonacker

This chapter looks at how we consider the European Union (EU) today. The EU is now regarded as an international actor. In this way, the development of the EU, this chapter shows, as a system of international relations in itself can be related analytically to the place it occupies in the process of international relations, and to its position as a ‘power’ in the global arena. This sort of analysis, the chapter argues, facilitates an understanding of the ways in which the EU produces international action and the ways in which the international dimension enters into EU policymaking. This relates particularly to the many crises that have affected the EU in the last few years, such as the eurozone crisis, the war in Ukraine, Brexit, and the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Cover International Relations and the European Union

20. Acting for Europe: Reassessing the European Union’s Role in International Relations  

Christopher Hill, Michael Smith, and Sophie Vanhoonacker

This chapter summarizes major common findings of the volume. It also stressing the different approaches and specialist areas covered by the chapters. It looks at the European Union’s (EU’s) substantive impact (or lack of it) on world politics, which has grown steadily in broad terms albeit with obvious gaps and setbacks. The three lenses introduced in Part 1, whereby the EU is analysed as a system of international relations, as a participant in wider international processes, and finally as a power, are then revisited to make possible the overall conclusions. The first conclusion is that while the EU has its distinctive attributes it is now largely integrated into the academic subject of International Relations, rather than being confined to European Studies. The second concluding thought is that the EU has significant powers as well as a wide-ranging presence in the international system, even if it may not yet be termed a ‘power’ The next conclusion is that the accelerating processes of change underway in the international arena continue to pose new challenges both for the EU and for analysis. The final conclusion is that the series of challenges which the EU has faced since the financial crisis of 2008 have produced some proactive responses but have also exposed its weaknesses as a collective actor on the world stage. The latest of the challenges, the war in Ukraine, has provoked the EU into an unusually rapid, forceful and united response. Only time will tell if that can be maintained.

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Cover International Relations and the European Union

9. The European Union and the Global Political Economy  

Amy Verdun

This chapter examines the position of the European Union (EU) in the global political economy (GPE). It also highlights key dimensions of change and development, and evaluates the EU’s impact on the operation of the contemporary GPE. It does this by examining key ideas in international political economy (IPE), by relating these to the growth of the EU, and by assessing the EU’s role in the GPE in three areas: European integration itself, the EU’s engagement in the GPE, and the EU’s claims to be a major economic power. The final part of the chapter brings these together with an analysis of global economic governance—in particular, the EU’s role in the financial, multilateral state system with its principles of global governance, and pays some attention to recent crises (such as the Covid-19 pandemic) and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Chapter

Cover Foreign Policy

23. Energy and foreign policy  

EU–Russia energy dynamics

Amelia Hadfield

This chapter examines the role of energy in foreign policy by focusing on Russia’s decision in 2006 to temporarily stop the flow of natural gas to the Ukraine, along with its impact on European markets. It first explains how energy contributes to national prosperity and underwrites national security, noting that states now desire energy security in the same way that they desire military and economic security. It then considers the political significance of energy during the post-Cold War years before discussing the ‘gas spat’ between Russia and Ukraine. It also explores the European energy insecurity dilemma that followed the spat and shows that much of the current tensions afflicting Europe and Russia are driven by an inability to manage energy security as a potent area of foreign policy.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Security Studies

20. Coercive Diplomacy: Countering War-Threatening Crises and Armed Conflicts  

Peter Viggo Jakobsen

Nowadays states rarely resort to war to defeat each other or to address war-threatening crises and armed conflicts. Instead, coercive diplomacy has emerged as their strategy of choice when persuasion and other non-military instruments fall short. Coercive diplomacy involves the use of military threats and/or limited force (sticks) coupled with inducements and assurances (carrots) in order to influence the opponent to do something it would prefer not to. States use coercive diplomacy in the hope of achieving their objectives without having to resort to full-scale war. This chapter presents the strategy of coercive diplomacy and its requirements for success and shows how states have employed it to manage crises and conflicts during the three strategic eras that the world has passed through since the end of the Cold War.

Chapter

Cover International Relations and the European Union

16. Internal Security and External Complication(s)  

Sarah Wolff

After the end of the Cold War, the internal–external security nexus, which refers to the links between what used to be distinct concepts under the Westphalian approach to international relations, has become a reality of European security. This chapter reviews the development of the external dimension of Justice and Home Affairs (JHA), which manifests this internal–external nexus, covering its evolution from a side product of European economic integration to a multi-dimensional and increasingly digitalized policy area. In the last decade, multiple ‘crises’—from the Syrian refugee inflows of 2015, to Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic, the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban in 2021, the war in Ukraine in 2022 and its ensuing refugee flows to the European Union (EU)—shaped the policy responses. From the reintroduction of internal border controls in March 2020 as a first reaction of EU member states to the Covid-19 crisis to the adoption of the temporary protection directive as an unprecedented response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis, the EU has developed new coordinating tools to adapt to this state of continuous emergency and to the proteiform nature of global security changes.