To act as a Union: Explaining the development of the EU's collective foreign policy

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


It is difficult for states to cooperate on issues related to international peace and security. Yet, ever since 1970, the EU member states have succeeded to gradually intensify their foreign policy cooperation and increasingly act in unison towards the rest of the world. This PhD thesis seeks an explanation to this trend. It does so by initially painting a picture of when, in time, the volume and content of the Union's collective foreign policy changed during the thirty-year period between 1970 and 1999. It then proceeds to use this picture when investigating three theoretically guided questions: Is it primarily the successive institutional changes that have enabled the EU members to agree more frequently at times? Are they perhaps periodically driven closer together as the threats facing the EU have changed? Or, is it recurrent disagreements with the world's sole superpower that generates additional political will to act as a Union? The findings suggest that changing threats are not the most important driving force, and that institutional modifications have rarely been immediately followed by any substantial changes in the Union's foreign policy. Instead, the political will to cooperate has periodically increased when EU members have disagreed with American strategies on international security management. The new levels of cooperation have often been ?locked in? by new institutional changes, before another transatlantic dispute has erupted and highlighted ? again ? the need to balance American influence. These conclusions are eventually illustrated and corroborated by an in-depth study of events during the period surrounding the Iraq war in 2003.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science


  • common foreign and security policy, European Union, institutionalism, international cooperation, Political and administrative sciences, balance of influence, balance of threat, realism, balance of power, European political cooperation, transatlantic relations, European security and defence policy
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2005 Sep 24
  • Department of Political Science, Lund University
Print ISBNs91-88306-54-2
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2005-09-24 Time: 10:15 Place: Edens hörsal Paradisgatan 5 Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Goldmann, Kjell Title: Professor Affiliation: Stockholm University ---

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