- Functionality in EU foreign policy: towards a new research agenda?
- Journal of European Integration
- Volume | Issue number
- 32 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
The study of European Union (EU) foreign policy has hitherto been dominated by the question of effectiveness, i.e. does it work? This takes the external impact of the EU's foreign policy as its analytical starting point. In addition to asking whether EU foreign policy works, we should also inquire into its functions. The article identifies three functions served by EU foreign policy: (1) the legitimization of inactivity at the national level; (2) as a site for the struggle over political power between different actors in the EU; (3) as a means for exploring ontological issues relating to the EU's underlying purpose and its finalite politique. A common feature of each of these functions is their internal orientation. From this perspective, the study of EU foreign policy need not be limited to assessing the impact of the EU on the rest of the world. It can also tell us a great deal about the political dynamics and the ongoing search for meaning within the EU.
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