Working Group 1: New Realities

Our Purpose

The international environment is changing rapidly and the power, balance and order in world politics are all up for reconsideration. EU foreign policy has to adapt to these new conditions and to the speed of change. The purpose of Working Group 1 is to understand and conceptualize the main features of the external environment in which the EU is cultivating its foreign relations and analyze the connections with internal EU challenges. The success of EU foreign policy depends on the EU’s ability to match stimuli and pressures originating from external with EU-domestic features. Against this backdrop, we are keen to reverse the traditional inside-out research agenda that tends to analyze EU foreign policy as a projection of European values and interests, and add a fresh and effective approach which can address the new realities of the new world order.

Our Activities

  • Spring School: In order to reach out to young researchers who will conceptualize and theorize the EU facing a new world order, we organize the First ENTER Spring School “(Re-)Conceptualizing or (Re-)Theorizing how the EU faces New Realities”, 11-14 March 2019 in Darmstadt, Germany.
  • EISA Conference Section: In order to bring scholars together and enable fruitful debates, we also organize the section “European Foreign Policy Facing New Realities” at the 13th Pan-European Conference on International Relations “A Century of Show and Tell: The Seen and Unseen of IR”, 11-14 September 2019, in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Join Us

If you would like to join us please get in touch with the working group leader Dr. Feride Asli Ergul Jorgensen.

Our Outcomes

Knud Erik Jørgensen (Ed.) (2021): The Liberal International Theory Tradition in Europe, Palgrave Pivot, 10.1007/978-3-030-52643-6

This book examines how the liberal international theory tradition evolved in Europe. It includes nine chapters focusing on both historical and contemporary branches of liberal IR theorizing. The combined portrait of the prominent IR theory orientation shows a long and rich theoretical tradition but also a tradition that the scholarly community rarely fully recognize. It is currently somewhat challenged and therefore in need of further advances. Concerning the historical branches, the authors present a truly European tradition that thus was not only present in a few countries. The contributors introduce examples of liberal theorizing that IR scholars tend to dismiss and they trace the boundaries between the liberal and other theoretical traditions. Given the prominence of the tradition, the book is surprisingly among the first to present a transnational perspective on the development of the liberal international theory tradition in Europe.

Knud Erik Jørgensen (2020) Conceptual analytical avenues known and unknown, Global Affairs,

Conceptual history in the European space, edited by Willibald Steinmetz, Michael Freeden, and Javier Fernández-Sebastián, New York, Berghahn Books, 2017, 311 pp., $149.00/£110.00 (hardback), ISBN: 978-1-78533-482-5In search of European liberalisms: concepts, languages, ideologies, edited by Michael Freeden, Javier Fernández-Sebastián, and Jörn Leonhard, New York, Berghahn Books, 2019, 346 pp., $135.00/£99.00 (hardback), ISBN: 978-1-78920-280-9

van Schaik, Louise; Jørgensen, Knud Erik; van de Pas, Remco (2020): Loyal at once? The EU’s global health awakening in the Covid-19 pandemic, Journal of European Integration, 42:8, 1145-1160,
The Covid-19 pandemic marks a shift in the EU’s approach to the multilateral system. Just at a time when the EU aspires to avoid being crushed between the US and China, the World Health Organization (WHO) became one of the new battlegrounds in world politics. This norm-setting international organization for health was already under pressure due to a plethora of other organizations trespassing its mandate, reduced core funding and weak governance, reinforced by a strongly decentralized structure. This article will use the exit, voice and loyalty approach to analyse how the EU operated in the multilateral system during the first phase of the Covid-19 crisis with the WHO and vaccines race as case studies. A comparison is made with the EU’s positioning on global health in the previous decade. Is the EU truly committed to upholding multilateralism in global health through the WHO, and has the Covid-19 pandemic made a structural change?
Knud Erik Jørgensen, Jonas Gejl Kaas, Tonny Brems Knudsen, Gert Tinggaard Svendsen & Laura Landorff (2020) The EEAS navigating foreign policy paradigms, European Politics and Society,
Addressing the issue of EU foreign policy, this article analyses one of the European institutions, the EEAS, and examines how the EEAS navigates in a European landscape characterised by a handful of main foreign policy paradigms. In particular, we ask how the EEAS has adjusted its foreign policies in the light of competing paradigms. In the first section, we explicate the key concepts including policy paradigms, worldviews and public philosophy. Having thus provided the conceptual settings, the third section examines the main foreign policy paradigms that the EEAS will need to prudently navigate. We focus on four dimensions: world order and multilateralism, security, neighbours and climate change. The dimensions are chosen simply because they are at the top of the contemporary European policy agenda. While analysing paradigm shifts, we discuss how the topic of the article relates to the model of four Europes. Finally, we briefly conclude and outline wider perspectives.
Jørgensen, Knud Erik;  Ergul Jorgensen, Feride Asli (2020): Realist theories in search of realists: The failure in Europe to advance realist theory. International Relations. July.

The realist theoretical tradition has never enjoyed a strong position in Europe. During recent decades, although it is commonly claimed otherwise, it even seems to have lost its limited traction and most of its relatively few representatives. The aim of the article is to analyse this evolution, highlight how realist theorists have contributed limited conceptual or theoretical innovation, been unable to adjust their research agenda to current analytical challenges, and produced relatively few comprehensive empirical studies informed by one or more realist theories. Instead, we observe three main activities. Some realists do meta-studies on realist theory. Others do retrospectives, for instance, (re-)discovering the qualities of classical realist scholars or classical concepts such as the security dilemma. Still others practice ideology that may enjoy certain functions in legitimising national foreign policy orientations but has limited theoretical quality. Thus, textbooks are probably the only remaining context in which realism is presented as constituting a dominant orientation; a fact that highlights the complex and problematic relationship between reality and representation.

F. Asli Ergul Jorgensen; Dilek Latİf (2020): ‘Different than us’? Reciprocal perceptions of the societies in Turkey and North Cyprus, Mediterranean Politics,

This study explores the reciprocal perceptions, main tendencies, prejudices and expectations of the societies in Turkey and North Cyprus. To this end, 160 participants from both societies were interviewed. The specific social processes that result in various judgements, thoughts and tendencies observed in the semi-structured interviews were evaluated by the discourse analysis method. Although the research findings and analyses are not representative of the whole populations, they still shed light on common perceptions. In fact, the results counterintuitively revealed that people from both societies exhibit increasing suspicion, if not negativity, about each other despite the widely accepted nationalist narrative of ‘motherland-babyland’, which is believed to be the main dynamic of the relations.

Arikan, Gizem; Günay, Defne (2020): Public attitudes towards climate change: A cross-country analysis. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations. September. Addressing climate change requires international effort from both governments and the public. Climate change concern is a crucial variable influencing public support for measures to address climate change. Combining country-level data with data from the Pew Research Center Spring 2015 Global Attitudes Survey, we test whether perceived threats from climate change influence climate change concern. We distinguish between personal threat and planetary threat and we find that both threats have substantive effects on climate change concern, with personal threat exerting a greater influence on climate change concern than planetary threat. The effects of both types of threats are also moderated by Gross Domestic Product per capita, such that threats have stronger effects on climate change concern in high-income countries than in low-income countries. Our findings contribute to the existing literature and open up new debates concerning the role of threats in climate change concern and have implications for climate change communication.