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23 Jan 2008

The European Union as a Normative Foreign Policy Actor

The European Union and its Global Partners

Nathalie Tocci / Hakim Darbouche / Sandra Fernandes / Ruth Hanau-Santini / Gergana Noutcheva / Michael Emerson / Clara Portela

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This is the second in a series of papers from a new project entitled “Who is a normative foreign policy actor? The European Union and its Global Partners”. The first paper – entitled Profiling Normative Foreign Policy: The European Union and its Global Partners, by Nathalie Tocci, CEPS Working Document No. 279, December 2007 – set out the conceptual framework for exploring this question. The present paper constitutes one of several case studies applying this framework to the behaviour of the European Union, whereas the others to follow concern China, India, Russia and the United States. A normative foreign policy is rigorously defined as one that is normative according to the goals set, the means employed and the results obtained. Each of these studies explores eight actual case examples of foreign policy behaviour, selected in order to illustrate four alternative paradigms of foreign policy behaviour – the normative, the realpolitik, the imperialistic and the status quo. For each of these four paradigms, there are two examples of EU foreign policy, one demonstrating intended consequences and the other, unintended effects. The fact that examples can be found that fit all of these different types shows the importance of ‘conditioning factors’, which relate to the internal interests and capabilities of the EU as a foreign policy actor as well as the external context in which other major actors may be at work.

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