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Research Paper

Upgrading the EU’s Role as Global Actor: Institutions, Law and the Restructuring of European Diplomacy

by Rosa Balfour / Tim Corthaut / Jan Wouters / Michael Emerson / Piotr Maciej Kaczyński / Thomas Renard
25 January 2011

Upgrading the EU’s Role as Global Actor: Institutions, Law and the Restructuring of European Diplomacy

Rosa Balfour / Tim Corthaut / Jan Wouters / Michael Emerson / Piotr Maciej Kaczyński / Thomas Renard

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The international order is experiencing fundamental changes driven by globalisation and the multipolarity emerging from the new balance of power. In response, a new book by a team of experts assembled by CEPS argues that the EU should build up a world-class diplomatic corps, capable of becoming a major actor in global affairs, drawing on enabling provisions in the Treaty of Lisbon.
The report investigates two prerequisites for achieving this goal: first, enhancement of the status of the EU in numerous multilateral organisations, international agreements and fora (the UN, IMF, etc.) and second, a restructuring of European diplomacy, involving a reallocation of functions and resources between the new European diplomatic corps (the European External Action Service) and the diplomatic representations of the 27 EU member states worldwide.
Recommendations are formulated on where and how to upgrade the EU’s status in the international arena. Scenarios are presented for the build-up of the EU’s diplomatic corps, alongside a slimming down of national diplomacies. The authors warn that failure to act along these lines will result in an increasingly irrelevant, obsolete and wasteful European diplomacy.
Michael Emerson & Piotr Maciej Kaczy?ski are at CEPS, Rosa Balfour is at the European Policy Centre (EPC), Jan Wouters & Tim Corthaut are at the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, University of Leuven, and Thomas Renard is at Egmont – The Royal Institute for International Relations.

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About the Authors


  • Author
    Rosa Balfour
    Rosa Balfour
  • Author
    Tim Corthaut
    Tim Corthaut
  • Author
    Jan Wouters
    Jan Wouters
  • Author
    Michael Emerson
    Michael Emerson
  • Author
    Piotr Maciej Kaczyński
    Piotr Maciej Kaczyński
  • Author
    Thomas Renard
    Thomas Renard
Upgrading the EU’s Role as Global Actor: Institutions, Law and the Restructuring of European Diplomacy
Download Publication

15505 Downloads