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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: 27 July 2021

p. 1658. Implementation

Making the European Union’s International Relations Worklocked

p. 1658. Implementation

Making the European Union’s International Relations Worklocked

  • Michael E. Smith

Abstract

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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