University of Twente Student Theses


The influence of national interests on the EU´s common foreign and security policy : exemplified by a case study of the European Union´s arms embargo on China

Peiler, L. (2012) The influence of national interests on the EU´s common foreign and security policy : exemplified by a case study of the European Union´s arms embargo on China.

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Abstract:Along with striving for European integration, the desire to develop the European institutions as an instrument of foreign and security policy emerged. Although a majority of the European population is in favor of an effective European foreign policy, Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) has so far achieved no significant breakthrough and has only a subordinate role in the daily operations of the European Union (EU) (Zepter, 2009). Especially in comparison to its economic power, the lack of effectiveness of the CFSP becomes obvious: "Economically a giant, politically a dwarf" (Fröhlich, 2008, p. 11). Due to its supranational and intergovernmental character, the EU rather portrays a system “sui generis” and is not easily assimilable into existing categories of governance. Besides, the CFSP is a framework of supranational as well as intergovernmental arrangements and the EU enjoys only shared competences in this policy field. As a result, the common foreign policy is closely connected to the national foreign policies of the Member States (MS) (Kernic, 2007). A lack of united positions, poor coherence and parallel foreign policies by the MS are only some consequences (Fröhlich, 2008). This thesis discusses the relation of the MS and the CFSP. More precisely, the thesis aims to investigate to what extend the interests of MS influence a common and coherent appearance of the CFSP. The ambiguity of the EU as an international actor, on the one hand as an important economical player and on the other hand as a negligible foreign policy actor, has great political relevance and engages the political science literature strongly. Does the "Westphalian model" of international relations remain dominant in the future or will there be a new global governance order due to interregional relations? The significance of the MS interests and influences as well as power politics motives play a key role in shaping the CFSP and are important in order to discover and scrutinize the concept of the EU foreign policy (Bendiek & Kramer, 2009). In recent years, numerous authors have been trying to answer the central question regarding the position and function of the EU in the international system, particular the way in which the EU is constituted as a new global actor. Do the MS continue to be the most important actors of CFSP or is there indeed a Common Foreign and Security Policy, which bears this name with justification (Kernic, 2007)? Previous research, however, could not agree on a clear conclusion and still many questions remain unanswered. Especially in terms of increasing international interdependence this has significance not only for the states concerned but also for the international community. This displays the topic´s relevance for European studies and international relations. Next to the objective of contributing to a better understanding of the CFSP, the thesis also aims to provide directions for a successful future development of this policy field. For the purpose of achieving this research objective, I developed the following research question: To what extend is the CSFP hostage of national interests of its MS? According to Moravcsik (1998), two major ascpects shape national interests: souvereignty and economic interests.1 Therefore, I will answer the research question by dividing it into two sub-questions, which will be examined in the empirical part of my study: To what extend is the CSFP hostage of economic interests of its MS? To what extend is the CSFP hostage of sovereignty interests of its MS?
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:88 social and public administration
Programme:Public Administration BSc (56627)
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