Reappraising Diplomacy: Structural Diplomacy and the Case of the European Union

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
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  • 1 Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for International and European Policy Parkstraat 45, Bus 03602, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium;, Email: stephan.keukeleire@soc.kuleuven.be
  • 2 Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for International and European Policy Parkstraat 45, Bus 03602, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium;, Email: arnout.justaert@soc.kuleuven.be
  • 3 Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for International and European Policy Parkstraat 45, Bus 03602, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium;, Email: robin.thiers@soc.kuleuven.be

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Abstract

Diverse shifts have taken place in both the daily practice and academic analyses of diplomacy. The authors argue that the various conceptualizations do not sufficiently take into account that diplomacy is increasingly concerned with influencing or shaping structures. The aim of this article is therefore to reappraise the nature of diplomacy in general and of the European Union in particular by elaborating on the concept structural diplomacy. This concept refers to the process of dialogue and negotiation by which actors in the international system seek to influence or shape sustainable external political, legal, economic, social and security structures at different relevant levels in a given geographic space (from the level of the individual and society, to the state, regional and global levels). The EU's institutional and diplomatic set-up allows it to conduct structural diplomacy. However, the extent and effectiveness of this diplomacy strongly differ depending on the regions in question.

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