Acting for Europe

Christopher Hill, Michael Smith and Sophie Vanhoonacker

in International Relations and the European Union

Third edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2017 | ISBN: 9780198737322
Published online September 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191851025 | DOI:

Series: NEU:P

Acting for Europe

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This chapter summarizes the volume's major findings and revisits the three perspectives on the European Union: as a system of international relations, as a participant in wider international processes, and as a power in the world. It also considers the usefulness of the three main theoretical approaches in international relations as applied to the EU's external relations: realism, liberalism, and constructivism. Furthermore, it emphasizes three things which it is clear the EU is not, in terms of its international role: it is not a straightforward ‘pole’ in a multipolar system; it is not merely a subordinate subsystem of Western capitalism, and/or a province of an American world empire, as claimed by both the anti-globalization movement and the jihadists; it is not a channel by which political agency is surrendering to the forces of functionalism and globalization. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the EU's positive contributions to international politics.

Keywords: international relations; European Union; power; realism; liberalism; constructivism; political agency; functionalism; globalization; international politics

Chapter.  11921 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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