Convenors: Michèle Knodt and Patrick Müller
EU foreign policy is often studied and explained from within, focusing on intra-EU institutions, actors and preferences. However, in a changing international environment EU foreign policy is also increasingly subject to external influences, stimuli and pressures. The EU’s multi-actor, multi-level system of governance provides various access points to engage with, and influence EU foreign policy from the outside. Simultaneously, the EU faces important internal challenges to its normative and political cohesion, including the rise of populist, right-wing and Eurosceptic movements. In this respect, Orenstein and Kelemen (2017) applied the phrase of cultivation of Trojan Horses among EU member states by external actors like Russia. Similarly, Smith points to “a kind of ‘second image reversed’ process of internalisation of external challenges or pressures, in which the positions and preferences of actors external to the EU and its Member States can infiltrate the process of policy-making” (Smith 2021: 639). At the same time, the fact that individual EU member states participate in multiple frameworks for regional cooperation, including China’s 17+1 initiative, raises questions about implications for EU foreign policy cohesion. Obviously there is significant external influence on the political system of the EU that can endanger the cohesion in the EU’s common foreign policy. In this context, cohesion can be understood both in the sense of willingness for joint activities in the field of external policy as well as in the sense of a common European interest and normative identity.
In times of decreasing multilateralism and growing nationalisms the EU’s cohesion in the foreign and security policy is immanently important on the international level for European states. In both academic and public discussions this topic is astonishingly under-reflected. Thus the overall goal of the contributions to the workshop is to discuss and evaluate systematically external influences on the EU, its effects as well as to develop potential strategy how to deal with these influences.
Contributions may focus on:
- Who are the addressees of the external influence by third states – member states, EU institutions, European and national political parties, social movements, think tanks?
- What is the target of the influence of third states – EU norms, narratives, policy, politics, coherence, unity, strategies?
- How do third states perceive the potential for influencing the EU and how does the EU/how do people in the EU perceive the level of influence – perceptions of national/European elites, experts, civil society, the broad public, images, narratives?
- What pathways and mechanisms of influencing can be identified, e.g. public diplomacy, communication strategies, political and economic pressure?
- What are appropriate measures to promote the cohesion within the EU – counter-diplomacy, regulative, investment, new narrative?
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