How to Reduce the Impact of Internal Contestation, Regional Fragmentation and Multipolar Competition on EU Foreign and Security Policy

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Series Details Number 21
Publication Date May 2023
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In a Union of 27 Member States, differences in (geo)political interests, socio-economic realities, historical trajectories and national identity construction constantly threaten internal unity and thus also the external coherence of the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy (EUFSP).

The following three factors and their mutually reinforcing interplay appear to have a significant impact on the creation and shaping of EUFSP, especially when it comes to managing international crises and conflicts: internal contestation, regional fragmentation and multipolar competition.

The analysis in this paper draws on the main findings from nine case studies carried out under the Horizon 2020 JOINT project. The paper first assesses the (generally negative) impact of the three factors on EUFSP in these contexts of international crises, identifies common patterns and divergent approaches. The second part of the paper identifies strategies to mitigate and/or reduce the (negative) impact of these challenges on EUFSP and points towards windows of opportunity to take action moving forward.

The ultimate aim of this research is to provide experts and officials with concrete ideas about how EU policy decision-making processes can enable greater coherence among EU institutions and Member States in their response to international crises and conflicts.

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