From the Global Compact for Migration to trade policy, from lethal autonomous weapons to sanctions on Russia, a range of decisions on EU external relations has been contested by states, national parliaments, political parties, civil society organizations, EU institutions and other actors at the EU and national levels. Far from being the external reflection of internal EU consensuses, as frequently assumed, or only the result of clashes between long-standing national foreign policy traditions, EU external relations have become a lively battleground for different worldviews and normative commitments. In addition, a good deal of this EU-internal contestation seems to take place in conjunction with the contestation of broader, global processes of international negotiations and foreign policy interaction.
This workshop aimed to uncover and discuss the causes and drivers of such contestation: Who are the contesters of EU external relations? Why do they contest EU foreign policy? How does contestation emerge and evolve over time? How does the multilevel character of contestation (national, European, international) shape its nature and actors’ strategies? We plan to cover the broadest number of issue areas, well beyond Common Foreign and Security Policy issues, so as to embrace the largest variety of external relations matters.
The workshop took place on the 8th and 9th of July in Porto (Portugal) and was hosted by the University of Porto, to discuss exciting contributions and potential projects going forward, including possible publications. The aim was to promote a debate framed on diversity of theoretical, methodologies, and epistemological backgrounds around research on this area. It was also open to accommodate the diverse ways in which contestation has been addressed by different disciplines.
This workshop was part of the COST Action ENTER EU Foreign Policy Facing New Realities (working group 3, contestation).