The European Union as a global actor in the post-Lisbon period

Event information
Venue:Florida International University - MARC International Pavilion



Foreign policy is an essential part of a state’s conduct of international affairs, and it is similarly important for the EU’s relations with the rest of the world. In the past, the European Union’s capabilities as global actor have been compromised by a variety of factors, ranging from a lack of cohesive identity based on diverging national interests to an expectations-capabilities gap, to the predominant presence of other powerful actors such as NATO. Part of the difficulties of the Union’s capacity to coherently act remains also in the (self)assessments that the EU should constitute a ‘normative’, ‘soft’, ‘transformative’ or civilian power – however undefined, whereas most participation in global security affairs favors traditional military-based approaches.

The ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 has opened the door for a more coherent foreign policy formulation for the EU, including the institutionalization of a semi-permanent president, a de-facto Foreign Minister, the development of an External Action Service of the Union, and the increase in enhanced cooperation procedures designed to make the EU act more efficiently across economic, diplomatic and security sectors. We are interested in exploring the effect of these treaty changes for the relations between the EU and its partners. For one, we aim to explore if the Union has become a more effective foreign policy actor as a result of the treaty changes, and secondly, we strive to discern the supranational-intergovernmental balance in these innovations. Finally, we want to deduct lessons from these post-Lisbon configurations for a better determination of the most appropriate and probable development of the Union as a military or civilian power.

In order to do so, we propose three thematic panels and a geographically-oriented roundtable:

  1. The EU’s external identity & actorness We welcome papers problematizing the externally ascribed as well as internally constructed role of the EU as actor in global politics (normative, civilian, soft or military power?)
  2. The institutional reconfiguration of foreign affairs after Lisbon Here, a close examination of the institutional (executive-based) changes in the post- Lisbon period is warranted (HR Foreign Affairs & Security Policy, Council President, External Action Service etc)
  3. Roundtable on Regional/National Perspectives on EU Foreign Relations
  4. Inter-institutional & regional relations The main focus of this panel will be on the EU’s relations as security community and regional economic power to other regions and blocs.