This book reviews a variety of approaches to the study of the European Union's foreign policy. Much analysis of EU foreign policy contains theoretical assumptions about the nature of the EU and its member states, their inter-relationships, the international system in which they operate and the nature of European integration. The book outlines the possibilities for the use of discourse analysis in the study of European foreign policy. It sets out to explore the research problem using a political-cultural approach and seeks to illuminate the cognitive mind-maps with which policy-makers interpret their political 'realities'. The book provides an overview and analysis of some of the non-realist approaches to international relations and foreign policy, and proposes an analytical framework with which to explore the complex interplay of factors affecting European foreign policy. The book suggests one way of seeking theoretical parsimony without sacrificing the most defining empirical knowledge which has been generated about Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) over the years. It argues that while the sui generis nature of CFSP presents an acute problem for international relations theory, it is less pronounced with regard to traditional integration theory. The book discusses the dimensions of European foreign policy-making with reference to the case of arms export controls. Situated at the interface between European studies and international relations, it outlines how the EU relates to the rest of the world, explaining its effort towards creating a credible, effective and principled foreign, security and defence policy.

Between international relations and European studies

This chapter offers a reflection upon an European Union (EU) foreign policy complex that seeks both to address the major definitional issues surrounding the nature and direction of the EU's external relations but which also draws our attention to contemporary theoretical debates in both international relations and European integration. Many texts on the international capacity of the EU focus upon the development of decision-making and policy within Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The field of study in European political cooperation (EPC)/CFSP has been dominated by empirical accounts of decision-making, policy-making and regional or issue-based case studies. Fewer studies have sought to make explicit theoretical claims upon CFSP and to situate it in broader debates within either European studies or international relations. In the early twenty-first century, the EU is making massive leaps to expand both geographically and sectorally.

in Rethinking European Union Foreign Policy