Towards a post-national foreign and security policy?
This paper attempts to conceptualize the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy by moving beyond traditional (realist or rational choice) perspectives. The alternative conceptions discussed are those of the EU as an (i) identity-based or (ii) rights-based entity, each with separate implications for the pursuit of a common European policy.
Much of the empirical work on the European Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy suggests that there is something "more" going on in this field than what we might expect if we rely on traditional realist or more sophisticated rational choice perspectives in our analyses. However, it is not always clear what these empirical observations add up to in terms of how we should conceptualise the EU's foreign policy and the processes that take place within it. This paper specifies two alternative ways of conceptualizing European foreign policy and makes a preliminary assessment of their empirical relevance. The first of these conceptions outlines the EU as primarily identity-based. Here foreign policy would be geared towards ensuring the sustainability of a particular European community. The second conception would depict the EU as a rights-based entity, concerned with promoting certain binding and constraining principles not only inside the EU but also in the international system at large.
This paper has later been published in E.O. Eriksen (ed.) Making the European Polity. Reflexive integration in the EU (London: Routledge, 2005)