Practising EU foreign policy

Russia and the eastern neighbours

Beatrix Futák-Campbell
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The European Union (EU), including its earlier formations, is a major economic and political actor in the region. This book seeks to gain insight into how EU practitioners consider the policy for which they have direct responsibility. It argues that a specific focus on practitioners' (diplomats, bureaucrats, and public officials) interactions can offer insight into the way EU foreign policy is practised. The book examines the data drawn from research interviews with EU practitioners who work on EU foreign policy vis-à-vis Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova. The ways that practitioners manage identity, normative, moral, and collective interest concerns are crucial for international relations (IR) theory, and for understanding EU foreign policy. The book illustrates the factors that have guided the path of the practice theory towards an application within IR and EU scholarship, and explains the notion of indexicality and the subsequent social action. It demonstrates the ways in which EU practitioners both co-construct and deconstruct the concept of the 'European' during research interviews, and focuses on norms and the functions of norms in EU foreign policy. Implying a vocational element to justify the necessary course of action that the EU ought to pursue in its eastern neighbourhood is not new. Practioners ought to be aware that the way in which they practise foreign policy is just as important as the policy itself. They have identified energy security as the most pressing common security interest that unites EU member states' interest into a collective interest, in the eastern neighbourhood.

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‘It is sometimes said, jokingly, that there are more people researching and writ- ing about EU foreign policy than actually doing it. Beatrix Futák-Campbell’s book places the analytical spotlight on the latter and, more specifically, on ‘EU practitioners’ practice’. [...] for its elaborate and innovative conceptualisation of discur- sive practices in EU foreign policy and for its rich set of (re-usable) inter- view data, this book deserves wide readership in the EU studies scholarly community.’
David Cadier, CERI-Sciences Po Paris, European Review of International Studies 7 (2020)
July 2020

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