EU enlargement, identity and the analysis of European foreign policy : identity formation through policy practice

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Series Details No 13, 2003
Publication Date 2003
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The eastern enlargement of the EU provides an excellent vantage point to examine the interplay of EU identity and European foreign policy. Yet most analysis of eastern enlargement either focus on enlargement as a case of EU foreign policy or on enlargement as the result of EU norms and identity. They therefore neglect that the EU's enlargement policy practice itself is a case of EU identity formation that has a causal impact on European foreign policy. This paper argues that the EU's eastern enlargement has contributed to the formation of an EU collective identity as a promoter and protector of human rights and democracy. This particular aspect of EU identity has been concretised and articulated in its policy practice towards the central European accession candidates. The thus formed identity affects European foreign policy by creating an argumentative logic that strengthens the advocates of particular foreign policy options and initiatives that can be legitimised with references to this particular identity. The broader implication of this argument for the analysis of European foreign policy is therefore that a focus on identity formation at the EU level and on the causal impact of identity provides important insights for the analysis of European foreign policy.

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