Ortoleva, Francesco. (2008) From Normative Power to Great Power Politics: Change in the European Union's Foreign Policy Identity. Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series. Vol. 5, No. 14 June 2008. [Working Paper]
[From the Introduction] At the beginning of the twenty-first century, one of the most significant developments in international relations is the important and growing role of the European Union (EU) as a global player in contemporary world politics. But what exactly is that role, how does the EU manage its relations with the external world and what identity does the EU wish to present to that world? In other words, what is the foreign policy identity of the EU? These are questions that analysts and scholars have grappled with since the formal creation of the EU at Maastricht in 1991 (Treaty on European Union). The EU has worked very carefully to foster a specific type of international identity. It is generally seen and theorized as a leader in the promotion of international peace and humanitarian issues. The EU presents itself as a normative force in world politics. It has customarily placed overriding emphasis on international law, democracy, human rights, international institutions, and multilateralism in its foreign policy, while eschewing a foreign policy based on traditional national interests and material gain. The EU has, in fact, explicitly and formally announced these normative goals for its foreign policymaking in the second pillar of the Treaty on European Union, more commonly known as the CFSP (Common Foreign and Security Policy). But in a world that has become markedly more perilous since September 11, 2001, many Europeans consider U.S. unilateralism as dangerous as the putative terrorist activity it is attempting to halt. As a result, are we seeing the foreign policy identity of the EU begin to change? Does the EU see itself as a possible balance against the primacy of the United States? In other words, does the EU show signs of transforming to a more traditional foreign policy orientation; one based on traditional great power politics and geared towards ensuring the most basic of state interests: survival, security and power? This paper will investigate this transforming foreign policy identity of the EU by seeking to answer the following questions: If the EU’s foreign policy identity is indeed changing, then how is it changing, what is it becoming, and most importantly, what is causing it to change? I will argue that the EU’s foreign policy identity is changing from a normative power to an identity based more closely on a great power politics model; and that the influence of epistemic communities or knowledge based networks is a primary catalyst for this change.
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