This book provides readers with an analytical framework that serves to investigate and explain how the EU adapts its foreign policy in the wake of crisis. While a range of studies dedicated to foreign policy stability and change exist for the US context, such analyses are rare for the assessment and measurement of foreign policy change at the European Union level. This book explores a range of theories of (foreign) policy change and assesses their value for explaining EU foreign policy change. Changes to EU foreign policy, this study proposes based upon an in-depth investigation of recent episodes in which foreign policy has changed, are not captured well using existing typologies of policy change from other fields of study. Offering a new perspective on the question of change, this book proposes an analytical framework focused on how institutions, institutional ‘plasticity’ and temporal context impact on the decision-making process leading to change. It thus provides readers with the tools to analyse, explain and conceptualise the various change outcomes in EU foreign policy. In so doing, it sets the theoretical approach of historical institutionalism to work in an EU foreign policy setting. Based on a rich empirical analysis of five case studies it provides a revised typology of EU foreign policy change. It proposes two novel forms of foreign policy change, symbolic change and constructive ambiguity, as frequent and important outcomes of the EU decision-making process.
contrast to the longitudinal studies Jegen and Mérand ( 2014 ) did – constructive outcomes are a frequent outcome of EU foreign policy change processes. This is most likely attributable to the dispersed institutional basis of many areas of EU external action and the heterogeneity in member state preferences providing fertile ground for ambiguouspolicychanges, which carefully play into diverging policy preferences. This holds true for the ENP in particular but equally migration or defence.
In this study I argue that constructive ambiguity as the
policy is governed exacerbates the consequences of diverging member state preferences, because policy change hinges on actor agreement. Radical and substantive policy adjustments would have to be approved by all member states. Ambiguouspolicychanges allow decision-makers to move forward despite disagreement.
Figure 0.1 displays the analytical framework for EU foreign policy change proposed in this book. Symbolic change and constructive ambiguity do not merely measure or categorise the degree or kind
heterogeneity in member state preferences together provide fertile ground for more ambiguouspolicychanges, which carefully play into diverging policy preferences, not only because they are easier to agree upon, but also because the plastic institutional structures provide room for such ambiguity.
Most likely policy change outcomes