The European Union and the Politics of Legitimization at the United Nations

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Series Details Vol.18, Issue 1, February 2013, p63-80
Publication Date February 2013
ISSN 1384-6299
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The European Union should be well-placed to exercise influence at the United Nations, as it is endowed with many material and ideational power resources that could enable it to win approval for its positions and proposals. Yet it encountered hostility when it sought enhanced observer status in the General Assembly and it has often been isolated at the Human Rights Council. The EU's failures to translate its putative power resources into influence in international affairs are often attributed to a lack of unity within the EU, but even when the EU is united at the UN, it may not win support. To help explain why, this article focuses on the UN as a locus of the international politics of legitimization, where UN Member States seek approval for their positions and policies, and base their appeals for support on competing principles and values.

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