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The Europeanisation of national foreign policy in non-EU Europe: Analysing the ideational alignment of Western Balkan states in multilateral forums

Florent Marciacq
University of Luxembourg
Florent Marciacq
University of Luxembourg
Open Panel

Abstract

This paper builds on new governance theories to explore an aspect of the external dimension of Europeanisation in a policy field that has long been presumed impervious to change, i.e. states’ national foreign policy. It contends that the geographical scope of Europeanisation, in this field, extends beyond the territorial boundaries of the EU. More specifically, this paper enquires into the voting behaviour at the United Nations General Assembly of four Western Balkan states between 1993 and 2008. The positions of these non-EU states are compared regionally to one another, and individually to EU consensus positions (and to the positions of a control pool). Although the EU is not entitled to participate in roll-call votes at the General Assembly, its consensus positions can be modelled in a broad spectrum of foreign policy issue-areas. The research, using quantitative methods, finds that voting patterns in non-EU Europe are often distinctively convergent with EU preferences, almost regardless of non-EU states’ accession status, and that the overall voting cohesion of the Western Balkan region is relatively high. The paper, following an inductive path, then searches for compelling explanations both at structural and individual levels. It scrutinises the legal-institutional conditions that are enshrined in the various conditionality regimes developed by the EU in its South Eastern periphery, and evaluates their explanation power. It concludes, based on interviews with relevant foreign policy actors, that other mechanisms, such as emulative learning, persuasion and socialisation, may in fact play a deeper role.