Shaping EU Foreign Policy Towards Russia
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Shaping EU Foreign Policy Towards Russia

Improving Coherence in External Relations

Philipp Thaler

Offering a comprehensive and structured analysis of the reasons why the EU lacks external coherence towards Russia, this book presents important new insights to the topic beyond conventional institutionalist arguments. Philipp Thaler utilises key cases in external energy and human rights policies to highlight the on-going difficulties in creating a coherent position, despite the EU’s formally stated objective to achieve this.
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Chapter 2: A research framework to investigate external coherence

Philipp Thaler


Chapter 2 develops the analytical framework for research on external coherence employed in this book. It reviews theories and literature from the scholarly fields of International Relations (IR) and European Studies and assesses their potential to explain varying outcomes of EU external policies. A special focus in explaining the external performance of the EU is placed on coherence: the concept is defined, structured and operationalized. On this basis, the chapter proposes a dual analytical approach to investigate the coherence of EU foreign policy. A distinction is drawn between the policy setting—investigated through an institutionalist research agenda—and the policy content. The latter is explored through Arnold Wolfers’ conceptualization of milieu and possession goals. On this basis, a set of research propositions on external coherence is formulated that informs and guides the following four empirical chapters.

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