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Upgrading the EU’s Role as Global Actor

Institutions, Law and the Restructuring of European Diplomacy

By Michael Emerson, Rosa Balfour, Sven Biscop, Piotr Maciej Kaczyński, Thomas Renard, and Jan Wouters
upgradingtheeusroleasglobalactor

This book is the first systemic analysis of the changing position of the European Union since it acquired a legal personality through the Treaty of Lisbon and decided to establish the European External Action Service. The issue is whether these useful institutional developments will lead to an upgrading of the EU’s presence in the multilateral system of organizations and conventions of international law.


Generally the EU’s status in international diplomacy lags way behind the authority delegated to it by EU treaties and law, with resistance to any upgrade coming from both the EU’s own member states and, increasingly, the new great powers who seek to enhance their own rankings. Reconciliation of these conflicting pressures can only come through quid pro quos between the EU and its member states and between the EU and the new emerging powers. This study provides a unique source explaining what these tradeoffs would mean in operational terms.

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