The EU’s Role in Fighting Global Imbalances

The EU’s Role in Fighting Global Imbalances

Edited by Antonina Bakardjieva Engelbrekt, Moa Mårtensson, Lars Oxelheim and Thomas Persson

The EU’s Role in Fighting Global Imbalances looks at the role of the European Union in addressing some of the greatest challenges of our time: poverty, protectionism, climate change, and human trafficking. Contributions from ten leading scholars in the fields of economics, law, and political science provide in-depth analyses of three key dimensions of EU foreign policy, namely: the internal challenges facing the EU, as its 28 member countries struggle to coordinate their actions; the external challenges facing the EU on the global arena, in areas where global imbalances are particularly pervasive, and where measures taken by the Union can have an important impact; and the EU´s performance on the global arena, in the eyes of other key actors. Based on a broad and interdisciplinary understanding of the concept of global imbalances, this book argues that these challenges follow from pervasive global imbalances, which at root are economic, political, and legal in character.

Chapter 2: Transformative power or political dwarf? European leadership and global imbalances

Lisbeth Aggestam

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, public policy


Academic interest in the European Union (EU) as a global actor has grown tremendously over the last two decades. This interest was sparked by the fact that the EU expanded its competences significantly in foreign and security policy after the end of the Cold War. It is no surprise, therefore, that academics renewed their interest in conceptual definitions of the EU as a global power (Manners, 2002; Sjursen, 2006; Aggestam, 2008; Smith, 2010) – although this is not a new debate per se (Duchêne, 1972; Galtung, 1973; Bull, 1982). The argument of this chapter is that much of this writing contains implicit assumptions about European leadership in global politics, although the concept of leadership itself is rarely defined explicitly. Depending on the theoretical orientation of scholars along the idealism/realism spectrum, the Union has been conceived either as a significant transformative leader of global politics (Manners, 2002; Risse and Börzel, 2009), or as a political dwarf structurally incapable of exercising effective leadership in a world dominated by power politics (Hyde-Price, 2008; Toje, 2010).

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information