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The External Relations of the European Union

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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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A Two-Way Mirror: Latin-American Perceptions of European Integration

Introduction

Extract

A Two-Way Mirror

Latin-American Perceptions of European Integration

Edward MOXON-BROWNE

University of Limerick

It is almost a truism nowadays to describe the EU as a “global actor”. The rhetoric of the EU itself certainly makes this assumption; and the role is assumed to carry with it burdens, responsibilities, opportunities and rewards. In the European Security Strategy document, for example, published in 2003, it is clearly stated that the EU is “a global actor: it should be ready to share in the responsibility for global security […] the development of a stronger international society, well functioning international institutions and a rule-based international order”.1 Alongside these security preoccupations, the EU is unquestionably a major economic actor whose commercial interests span the globe, and whose development aid policies affect economic and democratic progress in dozens of the planet’s most disadvantaged nations. Likewise, the EU interacts with other major actors such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), G8 summits, the United Nations (UN) and regional trade blocs like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR). Debate on the role of the “EU as a global actor” has not centred on whether the concept is plausible: it is widely assumed to be accurate and verifiable. What is debated is how we should interpret this role. At one extreme, the role of the EU has been portrayed as overwhelmingly altruistic. Originating in the concept of Europe as a “civilian power...

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