Academic journal article Romanian Journal of European Affairs

The Europeanization of Romanian Foreign Policy: Mitigating European and National 'Misfits' in the International Criminal Court and Kosovo Cases

Academic journal article Romanian Journal of European Affairs

The Europeanization of Romanian Foreign Policy: Mitigating European and National 'Misfits' in the International Criminal Court and Kosovo Cases

Article excerpt


This article aims to tackle some of the challenges posed to the Europeanization research agenda and to examine the usefulness of the Europeanization approach to the study of national foreign policy (selecting Romania as a test case). It proposes a research design that lays emphasis on pinpointing and mitigating the 'misfit' between EU and national levels, and on the role of the 'political vulnerability' stemming from the EU conditionality imposed on candidate countries and from different perceptions of threat. The two case studies chosen refer to EU-Romanian disagreements over the International Criminal Court's jurisdiction and Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence.

Keywords: Europeanization, Romanian foreign policy, political vulnerability, International Oiminal Court, Kosovo.


This paper makes the case for the use of an integrated model for the study of the Europeanization of public policy1 in assessing the EU impact on national foreign policies (including those of new member states and candidate countries).

First, it assumes thatthe 'goodness of fit' argument, accordingto which the degree of '(mis)fit' between EU and domestic levels determines the intensity of adaptation pressures on domestic structures and policies, is the key to understanding the Europeanization process (Börzel 1999; Cowles, Caporaso and Risse 2001).

Despite adaptation pressures at work, change at the domestic level is not assumed as automatic and, when it occurs, it is considered to take different forms in individual countries due to the presence of domestic intervening variables (Radaelli 2003; Börzel and Risse 2003). EU-induced change is believed to follow the 'logic of consequentialism' and/or the 'logic of appropriateness' advocated by March and Olsen (1984, 1989, 1998), which combine explanations rooted in rationalist and sociological institutional isms.

With regard to Börzel's 'downloading/uploading' argument, and Radaelli's concerns over confusing Europeanization with EU policy formation and integration, Bulmer and Burch have argued that, while the emphasis on the 'top-down' impact of the EU in national arenas still remains, adaptation is also the result of the necessity to ensure effective input into EU policy-making. They build on Radaelli's definition and describe Europeanization as 'a set of processes through which the EU political, social and economic dynamics interact with the logic of domestic discourse, identities, political structures and public policies'. That is to say that, besides a 'reception' dimension of Europeanization, whereby domestic institutions have to 'find suitable ways of processing EU business', there is also a 'projection' dimension, in which domestic institutions have to adapt their procedures in order to be able to make an effective contribution to those EU dynamics (Bulmer and Burch 2000, 2002, 2005).

There is another approach to Europeanization which implies horizontal, intra-European developments that may trigger change in domestic realms. Interaction and socialisation between member states, in a framework of European institution-building and policy-making (which may not necessarily lead to the strengthening of the EU system of governance), have the potential of reverberating in national arenas as well. One of the EU's principles, united in diversity, acknowledges and defends the many differences between member states. However, over time, within processes of interaction, socialisation and learning these differences may be attenuated, even in the absence of a clear systemic 'misfit' generated by the EU. The organisational literature draws attention to the "ability to detect and correct errors [or less effective institutional setups] and thereby improve the functioning of an organisation" (Olsen and Peters 1 996: 4), which reflects "a position that is comparable with the 'misfit' startingpoint common in the Europeanization literature" (Bulmer 2007: 54). …

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