Rethinking European Union Foreign Policy

By Ben Tonra; Thomas Christiansen | Go to book overview
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Foreign policy analysis and European
foreign policy

This chapter addresses two key objectives of this book identified in the introductory chapter. It makes a 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. It also seeks to broaden the focus of the analysis from the Common Foreign and Security Policy to the much more broadly based concept of European foreign policy. The chapter begins by reflecting upon the limitations of existing theoretical approaches, the pervasive institutionalist approach in particular, which provides a justification for developing a rather different approach here. Before an FPA framework can be set up, however, two sets of clarifications are needed. First, we need to demonstrate that FPA can be adapted from its traditional state-centric focus which appears to be inappropriate in an EU context. Second, we need to establish the alternative focus of the analysis here. The EU's global role will be analysed in foreign policy terms by reference to the controversial idea of European foreign policy which needs some preliminary discussion. After developing an FPA framework for analysing European foreign policy, the final section of this chapter reports briefly on this author's attempt to apply the framework in a book-length study elsewhere.

Contending approaches to European foreign policy

There are two different approaches in the literature that arguably dominate existing analyses of Europe's global role. The first, the 'European Union-asactor' approach, concentrates on the impact of Europe on world politics. Working backwards, as it were, from impact, scholars have tried to identify what sort of an 'actor' Europe is that has enabled it to be such an influential global player. Implicitly or explicitly, the working model has been the state, but increasingly scholars have moved beyond a state model to identify a distinctive non-state but


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Rethinking European Union Foreign Policy


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