International Relations of the European Union

Karen E. Smith

in International Relations

ISBN: 9780199743292
Published online May 2012 | | DOI:
International Relations of the European Union

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This article covers three broad areas with respect to the international relations of the European Union (EU): the development of the institutions and instruments of the EU’s foreign policy system, including the role that the EU member states have played in the development and functioning of that system; the EU’s relations with Third World countries, other regions, and other international organizations as well as its broader role in the international system; and the theoretical and analytical approaches used to try to explain the development, functioning, and output of the EU’s foreign policy system. The policy areas encompassed by this study area potentially include all those areas in which the EU has developed relations with “outsiders”: from trade to peacekeeping, and from development aid to cooperation on combating climate change, terrorism, and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The academic literature on the international relations of the EU is booming. In the 1970s and 1980s, only a few scholars investigated European Political Cooperation (EPC) and European Community (EC) external relations. After the creation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), which replaced the EPC in the early 1990s, interest grew in the “phenomenon” of European foreign and security policy, and even more attention has been focused on this field in the early 21st century. The number of books and articles on European foreign affairs is ever expanding, and courses on the EU’s foreign relations are now offered at numerous universities around Europe and the rest of the world. Whether the EU actually produces foreign policy output worthy of so much attention is of course debatable, but the mere fact that a collectivity of states is trying to cooperate—and persistently building new institutions—in an area that embodies state sovereignty generates much interest. Gaps in our knowledge still exist, as pointed out in this article: scholarly coverage of the EU’s relations with some areas of the world is variable; although this may reflect the paucity of EU activity in some cases, in others it does not. The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), for example, has generated more book-length publications than have the EU’s relations with the former Yugoslavia. Nonetheless, a rich offering of books and articles is available and is introduced in this bibliography.

Article.  9847 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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