European Union as an International Actor

Tine Van Criekinge

in International Relations

ISBN: 9780199743292
Published online April 2012 | | DOI:
European Union as an International Actor


The study of the European Union (EU) as an international actor has expanded rapidly in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The early years of informal European Political Cooperation (EPC) among the member states and the external relations of the then–European Communities (EC) in the 1970s through the late 1980s inspired little academic interest, because the EU’s role in the world was limited and often undervalued. With the institutionalization of European foreign policymaking through the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and later the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) in the 1990s, more scholars, especially of European integration and international relations (IR), began to focus their efforts on understanding this newly visible international role of the EU. Yet, the EU’s role as an international actor goes beyond merely the CFSP and the ESDP; it also includes policy areas, such as development, environment, and trade. Furthermore, through these policies the EU has built up an extensive network of relations across the globe, ranging from its immediate neighborhood to Africa, Asia, Latin America, and North America. This bibliography provides an overview of the scholarly literature and academic debates that accompanied the evolution of the EU as an international actor. It seeks to examine the topic from historical, theoretical, and conceptual perspectives; provide a broad overview of the various EU policy areas with an external dimension; look at the numerous geographical areas where the EU has relations; and explore some newer avenues for research to better understand the EU as an international actor.

Article.  15317 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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