The European Union as a Global Actor

The European Union as a Global Actor

The European Union as a Global Actor

The European Union as a Global Actor


This book examines the emergence, role and future of the EU as an actor in world politics. It looks at the core areas of European foreign policy: economy; trade; the environment; development; common foreign and security policy; international security (including the proposed European defence force) and identity. These are analyzed both theoretically and empirically. The book is unique in synthesizing theory from both the European Union and the international organization's literature. This fully updated new edition explains and analyzes the latest theoretical developments.


A far greater time has elapsed, since publication of the first edition, than we had originally anticipated. During that period the European Union has undergone very significant alterations, necessitating rather more fundamental revisions than we had envisaged when undertaking to produce a second edition. Indeed, in most respects this is an entirely new book, although it retains and extends the model of actorness developed in the first edition. In researching it, from 2001 to 2005, we were once again indebted to the many officials of EU institutions and external missions who gave of their time to answer our questions about the changes in which they were immersed.

Very shortly after completion of the first edition we saw the launch of the euro which, despite its mixed performance, has inevitably enhanced the Union’s international presence, and entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam, which brought important innovations in the field of Common Foreign and Security Policy. Subsequently there have been unprecedented developments in the field of security. The European Security and Defence Policy, which saw EU involvement in two smallscale operations in 2003 (in Macedonia and the Democratic Republic of Congo) and a continuing policing operation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, was unimaginable at the time of writing the first edition. 2003 also saw the production of a European Security Strategy that responded, in part, to the terrorist attacks on the USA of 11 September 2001. It also raised questions about the international roles and identity of the Union that must necessarily concern us in this volume.

The Amsterdam Treaty also initiated a process of communitarising’ the Justice and Home Affairs policy area, particularly in relation to immigration and border control matters. Progress in this area has also been rapid, introducing a new dimension to EU external policy that doubtless merits its own chapter in a work claiming to cover all areas of EU external policy. Nevertheless we have chosen to integrate this policy area into those dealt with in the first edition, but also to discuss it more fully in a completely new chapter dealing with meanings of EU identity.

The most significant change affecting the Union since the first edition was, of course, its enlargement, in May 2004, to include ten new Member States from Eastern and Southern Europe. This has substantially changed the internal dynamics and external borders of the Union, necessitating a new approach to ‘neighbours’ which as yet remains in embryonic form. Meanwhile further candidates await accession.

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