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Chapter

Cover International Relations and the European Union

19. Principles in European Union Foreign Policy  

Helene Sjursen

This chapter examines the normative principles underlying the European Union's foreign policy and whether there are inconsistencies therein. Drawing on a distinction between the principles of sovereignty, human rights, and a common good, the chapter challenges the notion that the EU is a distinctive foreign policy actor. Each of these principles points to a different perspective on how international politics should be organized, and each would take the EU's foreign policy in different directions. The chapter shows that the unresolved tensions in the EU's internal constitution, between its cosmopolitan vocation and the ambition of (EU) nation building, are also reflected in the EU foreign policy.

Chapter

Cover International Relations and the European Union

19. Principles in EU Foreign Policy: How Distinctive?  

Helene Sjursen

Examination of the European Union’s (EU’s) foreign policies seems to rest on a dichotomy between interests and power on the one hand, and norms and values on the other. Based on this dichotomy, the EU is often portrayed as a unique international actor and as a voice of global values. But principles, values, and norms are key elements of any foreign policy, as they are in international politics in general, and different normative principles might induce the EU to exercise power in different ways. Looking at a difference between the principles of sovereignty, human rights, and a common good, this chapter challenges the conventional wisdom of the EU as a distinctive foreign policy actor. It suggests that while holding on to the importance of a transformation of international politics, of binding and constraining states, EU foreign policy mainly seeks to ensure the present system is sustained and improved. It does this via an emphasis on the principle of external sovereignty and its corollary norms. The unresolved tensions in the EU’s internal constitution, between its cosmopolitan vocation and the ambition of (EU) nation building, are thus reflected also in the EU’s foreign policy.

Chapter

Cover The European Union

6. Democracy in the EU  

Richard Corbett and Daniel Kenealy

This chapter examines the democratic credentials of the EU. Beginning with a discussion of the idea of democracy beyond the state, it explores academic debates about whether the EU suffers a ‘democratic deficit’. The chapter evaluates the EU along various dimensions, including how powers are separated and divided within the EU, the extent to which executive accountability is established, and the various mechanisms of representation in the EU. It explores the nature of European elections, the role of European political parties, the role of national parliaments in EU policy-making and recent innovations in the way that the president of the European Commission is chosen. The chapter concludes with a discussion of fundamental rights, values, and the rule of the law in the EU with a particular focus on recent developments in Hungary and Poland.

Chapter

Cover The Institutions of the European Union

7. The Court of Justice of the European Union:  

a quiet leader

Sabine Saurugger and Fabien Terpan

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is one of the key institutions in the European political system, and amongst the less well known. Described as one of the most powerful international courts, and perceived as one of the reasons the UK left the European Union (EU) (their main argument being that they did not want to be held to account by an unelected and non-British court), the Court continues to be shrouded in mystery. The aim of this chapter is to facilitate an understanding of the structure, history, and workings of this Court, as a key actor in the EU’s institutional system. As such, it is not only a judicial actor but a ‘political’ actor too. Its constitutional role, as well as its role during the economic and financial crisis, illustrates these multiple facets.