Rethinking European Union foreign policy

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Publication Date 2004
ISBN 0-7190-6001-X (Hbk); 0-7190-6002-8 (Pbk)
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This work arises from a conference staged by the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and attended by scholars of European integration, international relations and foreign policy analysis. The conference, which addressed the European Union’s role in global politics, heard wide-ranging perceptions of the EU’s foreign policy and determined that the dialogue might be expanded through a book.

There are nine contributions. The editors open with a chapter giving some background and presenting arguments for a need to rethink EU foreign policy. Chapter two explores theories of collective policy-making and relates that to the CFSP, with some questions expressing concern that the CFSP remains a neglected element within EU policy-making circles. The third chapter also looks at the CFSP, particularly the ‘sui generis’ problem, both with regard to its uniqueness in international relations and also its uniqueness to European integration. The argument progresses in chapter four to making the case for a new theoretical approach to the study of the European Union as ‘a global actor based explicitly upon an adapted foreign policy analysis’ and seeks to widen that analysis to ‘the much more broadly based concept of European foreign policy’. The focus of chapter five is on the research potential of discourse analysis in the study of European foreign policy and features three central dimensions of discourse analysis: representation, policy practice, and play of practice. Chapter six explores the relevance of the state in foreign policy vis-à-vis the European level of foreign policy setting, using a political-cultural approach to explore identity and role. Chapter seven aims to outline a framework for understanding the role of the EU as an international actor, setting this framework on three legs - interests, institutions and identities. The theory and practice of multi-level foreign policy are examined in chapter eight with specific attention given to EU policy in the field of arms export control. The final contribution in chapter nine seeks to justify EU foreign policy by examining its raison d'être and relating it to EU enlargement policy, which is seen as an important element of EU foreign policy.

The work will interest scholars and students, researchers and policy-makers engaged in European Studies, international relations and European enlargement.

Ben Tonra is Jean Monnet Professor of European Foreign, Security and Defence Policy and Academic Director of the Dublin European Institute at University College Dublin. Thomas Christiansen is Senior Lecturer at the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA), Maastricht.

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