To What Ends EU Foreign Policy? Contending Approaches to the Union’s Diplomatic Objectives and Representation

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
Daniel C. Thomas

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Ben Tonra

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The strengthened Office of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the new European External Action Service (EEAS) presuppose a set of interests and/or values that the European Union (EU) wishes to pursue on the world stage. But what are those interests and/or values and how does the EU reach agreement on them? Rather than simply ‘cutting and pasting’ from EU treaties and strategy papers, this article identifies seven distinct theoretical models of how the EU and its member states arrive collectively at a definition of their diplomatic objectives. The seven models include intergovernmentalist models of veto threats and log-rolling, normative institutionalist models of cooperative bargaining and entrapment, and constructivist and sociological institutionalist models of elite socialization, Europeanization and collective identity formation. The article identifies the logics of each model and notes their implications for the role of the EU’s new foreign policy institutions.

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