Research Handbook on the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy
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Research Handbook on the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy

Edited by Steven Blockmans and Panos Koutrakos

In times of rapid change and unpredictability the European Union’s role in the world is sorely tested. How successfully the EU meets challenges such as war, terrorism and climate change, and how effectively the Union taps into opportunities like mobility and technological progress depends to a great extent on the ability of the EU’s institutions and member states to adopt and implement a comprehensive and integrated approach to external action. This Research Handbook examines the law, policy and practice of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, including the Common Security and Defence, and gauges its interactions with the other external policies of the Union (including trade, development, energy), as well as the evolving political and economic challenges that face the European Union.
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Chapter 19: The European Union as post-national realist power

Achilles Skordas

Abstract

This chapter argues that the post-national character of the EU is not incompatible with a realist foreign policy. The Treaties and the relevant strategy papers clearly demonstrate that ‘liberal realism’ is the deep structure determining the Union’s identity and foreign policy. The Union’s primary objective is to preserve its fundamental interests, independence, integrity and security. Moreover, the Union promotes its liberal-democratic values, which are integrated in its interests. The realist dimension of the Union’s foreign policy has recently come to the fore as result of systemic risks arising in the neighbouring geopolitical spaces. The EU migration policy post 2015 was shaped by the prioritization of the rule of law and maintenance of order over individual benefits and expectations. In the area of security and defence, the Union and Member States have made a ‘great leap forward’ through minilateralism, the mutual assistance clause, and adoption of the framework of permanent structured cooperation.

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