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5. The Institutional Framework  

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.

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1. International Relations and the European Union  

Themes and Issues

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.

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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.

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2. The European Union as a Subsystem of International Relations  

Simon Duke and Sophie Vanhoonacker

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.

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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.

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15. The European Union’s Security and Defence Policy  

The Quest for Purpose

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.

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13. The European Union and International Development  

Maurizio Carbone

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.

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9. Legitimate and Democratic? The European Union’s International Role  

Christopher Lord

This chapter examines the legitimacy and democratic control of the European Union's international policies. It first explains why, with whom, and by what standards the EU's international role need to be legitimate before discussing the issue of democratic control involving the European Parliament (EP) and national parliaments. More specifically, it considers the member states' mantra that the legitimacy of EU decisions is ‘founded on the principle of representative democracy’, delivered through the representation of citizens in the EP and national democracies in the European Council, the Councils, and their own national parliaments. It also emphasizes the great variety in the EU's international policy procedures and concludes by assessing how legitimacy might enable or constrain the development of the EU as an international actor.

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25. Common Foreign and Security Policy  

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.

Book

Cover International Relations and the European Union

Christopher Hill, Michael Smith, and Sophie Vanhoonacker-Kormoss

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 fourth edition include chapters on the EU’s relationship with Africa and Asia, coverage of the implementation of the EU’s foreign policy, and exploration of how the EU’s international relations relate historically to the European integration process, and the contemporary issue of migration.

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17. The European Union and the USA  

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.

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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.

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6. The Implementation of EU Foreign Policy  

Ana E. Juncos

This chapter considers the implementation of European Union (EU) foreign policy by looking at how intra-EU and international dynamics have shaped the role of the EU as a subsystem, process, and power in international relations. The chapter starts off by discussing the challenges relating to the implementation of foreign policy. Next, it examines the specificities of the EU as an international actor. The complexities involved in EU foreign policy implementation are examined through a closer look at the division of competences, availability of resources, and definition of interests at the EU and national levels. The chapter then follows with a discussion of the key (diplomatic, economic, and security) capabilities the EU can deploy at the international level. It considers how they have evolved over time in response to broader international trends. The final part of this chapter provides a tentative assessment of the EU’s performance as a power and its limits, reflecting on the myriad of challenges EU foreign policy faces in a more geopolitical and contested world.

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Cover The European Union

8. The EU as a Global Actor  

Niklas Helwig

The EU’s ambitions to be a global power are a surprising by-product of European integration. Students of European foreign policy mostly focus on EU trade, aid, and the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). But the national foreign policy activities of its member states cannot be neglected. On most economic issues, the EU is able to speak with a single voice. It has more difficulty showing solidarity on aid policy but is powerful when it does. The Union’s external policy aspirations now extend to traditional foreign and security policy. But distinct national policies persist, and the EU suffers from fragmented leadership. The chapter begins by considering the development of EU foreign policy and then considers how a national system of foreign policies exists alongside EU policies in the area of trade and international development. It then examines the EU’s CFSP and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

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4. The Institutional Framework  

Sophie Vanhoonacker and Karolina Pomorska

This chapter focuses on the European Union (EU) as a ‘power’ on the world stage. The institutional context of the external relations of the EU is complex, it argues. The roles of various places, such as the Council, Commission, European Parliament (E), and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) differ significantly depending on the policy area under consideration. The marked variations reflect the differing paths of evolution and the various degrees of integration these institutions have experienced in terms of different areas of external policy. This chapter focuses on the institutional basis of international policy in the EU. It asks how we should think about the roles of institutions and looks at some of the key ideas around EU international policy.

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5. European Foreign Policy and the Role of Member States: Europeanization or Renationalization?  

Spyros Economides

The field of European Foreign Policy has become an established area of academic study concentrating on the international relations of the European Union (EU). However, we should not neglect the central role played by member states in the definition, formulation, and implementation of the EU’s foreign policy. This chapter explains why we should consider the impact that EU membership, and participation in the EU foreign policy system, has on member states of the EU (or on those wishing to join). This is where the term, the Europeanization of foreign policy, derives. This chapter begins by setting out the conventional definitions and components of the Europeanization of foreign policy. While accepting the basic conceptualization of the term, the chapter questions the viability of the existing dominant assumptions and characterizations of Europeanization and proposes a new typology with more direct policy implications. Finally, the chapter engages with the idea of renationalization and de-Europeanization of European foreign policy.

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3. The European Union and Theories of International Relations  

Filippo Andreatta and Lorenzo Zambernardi

This chapter looks at theoretical answers to two major questions arising from the emergence of the European Union (EU) on the world stage. Firstly, what have the causes of European integration been in general, and in the foreign policy field in particular? Taking note of the fact that prevailing schools of international politics assume that states do not easily give up their sovereignty, classical and recent theoretical approaches to International Relations (realism, liberalism, and constructivism) have struggled to find the motives for integration and incorporate them in their overall frameworks. Secondly, the chapter investigates theoretical interpretations of the consequences of European integration for international relations in Europe and in the wider world. The chapter concludes by focusing on the idea and reality of the EU as a major power in international politics.

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11. The European Union and International Development: Evolving Tensions and Contested Transformations  

Maurizio Carbone

This chapter examines the evolution of the European Union’s (EU’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.

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8. The European Union as a Trade Power  

Sophie Meunier and Kalypso Nicolaïdis

Internal and external trade liberalization have together constituted the essence of European integration since the Treaty of Rome. Successive enlargements, along with the constant deepening of the single market, have turned the European Union (EU) into one of the world’s largest trade powers. The EU forms trade policy through a complex decision-making process, often contested politically, which allows it to speak on behalf of its members in international trade, and now investment, negotiations. This chapter argues that not only does the EU derive some inherent power from trade, but it has also long used trade as the backbone of its normative power, using its market access in order to obtain political concessions from its commercial partners. However, this role has been increasingly challenged by recent changes in the relative power and behaviour of the EU’s main trade partners and competitors, which have forced Europe to refocus its trade policy towards more traditional commercial objectives and to create new unilateral trade defence instruments. Through its goal of what is terms open strategic autonomy, the EU is trying to strike a delicate balance between remaining a force for liberalism and openness in the world while not being naive and taken advantage of. This chapter explores the determinants of the EU’s trade power and examines the contribution of trade policy to the power of Europe in the international system, both in the context of international trade agreements and in the broader framework of international relations.

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Cover The European Union

1. Introduction  

Daniel Kenealy, Amelia Hadfield, and Richard Corbett

This chapter discusses the practical and analytical reasons for studying the EU. It presents the EU as a complex and innovative political entity, comprising its member states, its institutions, and its citizens. The chapter presents some of the key theoretical and conceptual approaches to understanding how the EU has developed historically and how it works today. 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 its institutional architecture, from its policy-making process to its democratic credentials, from its key internal policies to its growing role as an actor on the global stage.