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The Contestation of EU Foreign Policy

European Union
Foreign Policy
Globalisation
Institutions
International Relations
Empirical
Member States
Theoretical
S56
Michele Knodt
Technische Universität Darmstadt
Franziska Petri
University of Leuven
Elodie Thevenin
Jagiellonian University

Endorsed by the ECPR Standing Group on European Union


Abstract

The European Union (EU) has reached a new momentum in its development, characterised by contestation. EU politics have moved from a permissive consensus in place until the early 1990s (Hooghe & Marks, 2009) to increased contestation dynamics in the last two decades (De Wilde, Koopmans, Merkel, & Zürn, 2019): EU policies and actions are being contested, both domestically – by the proliferation of nationalist, populist and Eurosceptic voices (Falkner & Plattner, 2019; Zeitlin et al., 2019) – as well as on the global level – by re-emerging global power competition, the open contestation of norms of multilateral cooperation by emerging and new isolationist powers and within international organisations (Aggestam & Hyde‐Price, 2019; Ikenberry, 2018). This section aims to analyse EU foreign policy in this new environment, answering the question of: how has internal and external contestation impacted the EU’s capacity to act in the international arena? The theoretical starting point for this Section is the concept of contestation. Contestation can broadly be defined as “the act of arguing or disagreeing about something” (Cambridge Dictionary, 2020). With the above described trends of increased politicization and contestation, the concept has received more scholarly attention in European studies over the past decade (e.g. Zeitlin & Nicoli, 2020; Johansson-Nogues, Vlaskamp & Barbés, 2020). While the impact of these trends have mostly been explored in electoral studies/the party politics literature so far (e.g. Anders, Scheller & Tuntschew 2018), exploring the effect of contestation on the EU’s external policies remains understudied. This Section contributes to this evolving strand of research by analysing the varieties of contestation patterns in EU foreign policy. EU foreign policy can be defined as “the area of European policies that is directed at the external environment with the objective of influencing that environment and the behavior of other actors within it, in order to pursue interests, values and goals” (Keukeleire & Delreux, 2014, p. 1). It can take multiple forms, can be implemented by various institutional actors and through various instruments, and can vary substantially across regions. This Section explores whether there are similar internal and external contestation patterns within individual clusters of EU foreign policy by providing policy-area specific panels on CFSP, external action, etc. and on De-Europeanization trends revealing how contestation has affected the EU’s capacity to act within the respective field. Each panel brings together a variety of early-career and senior researchers with diverse methodological and theoretical backgrounds. Each panel will address the common research questions of the Section, being: (a) How have internal and external contestation trends shaped the EU’s capacity to act in the international arena? (b) What can we learn from analysing EU external policies through the lenses of contestation?
Code Title Details
P089 De-Europeanization and the Contestation of EU Foreign Policy View Panel Details
P124 Emerging New External Policies? Patterns of Contestation of Previously Internal EU Policies View Panel Details
P137 EU External Action: Contested Supranational Leadership? View Panel Details
P138 EU foreign policy contested from all sides? The roles of various actors in EUFP contestation View Panel Details
P402 The Common Foreign and Security Policy at 30: Moving Past Contestation? View Panel Details
P403 The Common Foreign and Security Policy at 30: Old Issues and Novel Challenges View Panel Details
P404 The Common Security and Defence Policies: Contested Capacities? View Panel Details
P415 The EU and the Eurasian Economic Union: A Double Contested Relationship? View Panel Details
P452 The usual suspect? Drivers, attitudes and politics of contestation of EU trade policy. View Panel Details