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EU Foreign Policymaking toward the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Comparing German and French Europeanization experiences

Patrick Müller
University of Vienna EIF
Patrick Müller
University of Vienna EIF
Open Panel

Abstract

While the study of the Europeanization of national foreign policy has become a subject of growing academic interest so far only little research has been carried out to systematically compare national Europeanization experiences. Adopting a comparative perspective, this article examines the interaction between the EU’s collective foreign policy and the national foreign policies of France and Germany in a central area of European foreign policymaking – the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Focusing on France and Germany is particularly interesting as it allows comparing the Europeanization experiences of two large EU countries who possess the political resources to shape EU-level outputs and who have been involved in European foreign policy cooperation since the early 1970s. Given these important similarities, it is a particularly interesting finding that this paper establishes the picture of diverging Europeanization experiences. The paper proceeds as follows. First, the analytical framework is developed. Conceiving Europeanization as an interactive two-way process of national projection and EU-adaption, key indicators for assessing (and comparing) the Europeanization of foreign policy are established. Subsequently, the empirical part of the paper highlights important differences in the way Germany and France engaged at the EU-level to shape Europe’s common conflict resolution policy as well as in the way they responded to EU-level stimuli and constraints. A number of factors need to be considered to account for the EU’s differential impact, including EU-level changes that altered interest coalitions and decision-making dynamics within the EU, as well as domestic characteristics of Member States. At the same time, the paper highlights the need to contextualize national Europeanization experiences, so as not to overstate the EU’s impact. Europeanization effects often occur in conjunction with other important stimuli located at the domestic and international levels.