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The External Relations of the European Union

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Edited By Pascaline Winand, Andrea Benvenuti and Max Guderzo

The book analyses the attitudes of non-EU countries towards European integration in historical and contemporary perspectives. The authors study a range of actors in Europe and beyond to explain the impact of the creation of the European Communities on the international system and how the EU is perceived in the world.
The book further shows the significance of the institutional interplay within the EU, and between EU institutions, member states and external actors led by their own internal dynamics to explain policy outcomes. It investigates to what extent the perceptions of the international community towards the European Communities and the EU have been influenced by the complexity of their decision-making and the difficulty of reconciling the views of member states on key external relations issues. The authors also study the interplay of non-EU countries and the EU within the broader context of international and regional institutions and forums for international cooperation.
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The EU in International Affairs: A Global Actor Sui Generis

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The EU in International Affairs

A Global Actor Sui Generis

Andrea BENVENUTI and Max GUDERZO

University of New South Wales and University of Florence respectively

In 1964, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson famously quipped that a week was “a long time in politics”. The Labour leader probably had in mind the dramatic change in his government’s fortunes following his victory at the October 1964 general election: the elation generated by Labour’s return to power after twenty-three years in the political wilderness soon gave way to serious concerns over the state of the British economy, and, more specifically, over the United Kingdom’s gloomy balance of payments figures and the weakness of sterling.1 Born of Labour’s troubled early days in office, Wilson’s aphorism entered British political folklore. Its validity, however, remains universal, transcending political cultures and historical circumstances; it applies to political leaders as much as governments and other political institutions. The European Union (EU), of course, is no exception. Six years ago, when turmoil engulfed the global economy and the international financial system seemed to be on the verge of a disastrous meltdown as a result of the American subprime mortgage crisis, the European Monetary Union and its flagship, the euro, appeared to provide a safe shelter for countries badly hit by the financial storm. Central and eastern European countries were reported to be keen on adopting the euro; Iceland announced its intention to apply for EU membership with a view to eventually...

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