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European Foreign Policy

From Rhetoric to Reality?


Edited By Dieter Mahncke, Alicia Ambos and Christopher Reynolds

There is agreement in political and academic circles that the European Union needs a common foreign and security policy (CFSP). The question is how to move from recognised necessity to practical implementation: from rhetoric to reality. Many efforts have been made, and indeed the creation of a European foreign policy is ‘work in progress’. Bringing together a multinational team of both young researchers and established academics, this volume offers a comprehensive analysis of this process, uniquely combining the examination of the foundations, institutions, procedures and obstacles of EU-level foreign policy with an extensive range of case studies exploring European policy ‘on the ground’ in key areas such as the Balkans, Africa or the Middle East.
Of use and interest to students of European politics and the general reader alike, it breaks through the Euro-jargon to provide a clear, accessible and up-to-date account of this unprecedented system of international relations, with a particular focus placed on the questions of why EU member states participate in the CFSP and what impact it enables them to have in geopolitics.
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PART ONE FOUNDATION AND STRUCTURE 27 CHAPTER 1 The Need for a Common Foreign Policy Dieter MAHNCKE Introduction In the traditional sense, i.e. in the modern state system since the Peace of Westphalia, foreign policy denotes certain activities a state exercises in its relations with other states. Up into the late 19th century this primarily meant diplomacy, with military force playing an impor- tant role both to back up diplomacy and as an instrument to be used in order to pursue certain goals (conquest or defence) by force. While trade was important and sometimes was a cause of dispute, it played a seem- ingly secondary role compared to diplomatic and military issues. Other actors, individuals or non-state groups or organisations, were on the whole negligible. This has changed dramatically in the course of the 20th century, es- pecially after the end of the Second World War. Four factors stand out: the increased and direct role of economic relations, the enhanced role of interstate organisations, the large number and increasingly influential role of non-state actors, and the discovery and enhanced role of soft power, that is the importance and capacity of economic, ideological and cultural factors in foreign policy. The point to be made here is that foreign policy today is a much more complex mixture and interplay of many elements, and when we speak of a need for a common foreign policy of the European Union we must be aware of this. What is more, when looking at the EU,...

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