- Becoming in-crowd: constructing EU power in informal governance: A study of the role of the European Union in the G8 summit
- Award date
- 19 January 2016
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This project analyses the role of the European Union in the informal setting of the G8 summit. The G8, as an instance of informal governance, forces us to reconsider existing conceptualisations of the EU’s role or power. The G8 summit is not about formal agreements, but about fostering mutual understanding and cooperation through the building of an identity network. Consequently, we require an understanding of power that investigates if and how the EU participates in this network. To this end, this study employs an inductive approach, combining several different conceptual and empirical perspectives.
This approach culminates in the general conclusion that the informality of the G8 allows for a flexible role of the European Union, in parallel yet subordinate to its member states. As an undefined participant, the European Commission was able to partake in the summit almost like a regular summit member, but it never really became one, because it did not have to. Consequentially, because the EU never really had to resolve its internal struggles of international representation, weak EU autonomy and erratic EU cohesion continue to affect the EU’s role at the summit. Consequently, EU power in the G8 differs per level. While the EU is not quite a member on the formal level, they do participate informally in all elements that make up the summit. But if we look closer, at the identity level, we see that although the EU participates, its post-sovereign identity prevents it from being a true member of the core group.
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
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