The Legitimacy of European Union Foreign Policy

Helene Sjursen explores the sources of legitimacy of the European Union's (EU) Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) in the journal Global Affairs


In this article I enquire into the sources of legitimacy of the European Union's (EU) Common Foreign and Security Policy. I suggest that as the EU has moved beyond intergovernmentalism in this policy field, it cannot derive its legitimacy solely from the national systems of the member states. It must establish an additional channel of legitimacy, which is derived directly from the EU. Challenging the conventional position on the legitimacy of global governance institutions, I further suggest that EU institutions can only make a reasonable claim to prevail over the member states in this policy field if they contribute to enhance the normative status of the foreign policy. That the co-operative endeavour is mutually beneficial is not a sufficient basis for the legitimacy of EU foreign policy. Drawing on a deliberative perspective, I suggest that we may expect to find two mutually reinforcing sources of legitimacy at the EU level. However, these would mainly contribute to enhance the external legitimacy of the CFPS. Paradoxically, they may at the same time constrain the internal legitimacy of the EU's foreign policy.

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Helene Sjursen
The legitimacy of European Union foreign policy

Global Affairs, online, October 2018
DOI: 10.1080/23340460.2018.1532308

Open Access (link)

Tags: European Union, European integration, Democracy, foreign policy, Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Legitimacy
Published Oct. 29, 2018 12:00 PM - Last modified Nov. 6, 2018 10:30 AM