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 21: The European Union’s foreign policies: an external examination of the capabilities–expectations gap

Urfan Khaliq


The European Union was, in part, created to provide the pre-existing European integration project with a more coherent and visible foreign policy dimension. At the end of the Cold War it was argued and assumed, based upon its economic prowess, that ‘Europe’s time’ as a major global power had arrived. The following years indicate that the Union as a foreign policy actor has not met many of the objectives set out for it, nor the hopes and expectations of those who look to it as a foreign policy actor. This chapter seeks to reflect on the Union as a foreign policy actor, and to see how its role and approach have developed and how they may further evolve in the coming years.

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