Acting for Europe: Reassessing the European Union's Role in International Relations

Christopher Hill, Michael Smith, Sophie Vanhoonacker - Kormoss

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


This chapter summarizes the volume's major findings and revisits the three perspectives on the European Union: as a system of international relations, as a participant in wider international processes, and as a power in the world. It also considers the usefulness of the three main theoretical approaches in international relations as applied to the EU's external relations: realism, liberalism, and constructivism. Furthermore, it emphasizes three things which it is clear the EU is not, in terms of its international role: it is not a straightforward ‘pole’ in a multipolar system; it is not merely a subordinate subsystem of Western capitalism, and/or a province of an American world empire, as claimed by both the anti-globalization movement and the jihadists; it is not a channel by which political agency is surrendering to the forces of functionalism and globalization. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the EU's positive contributions to international politics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Relations and the European Union
EditorsChristopher Hill, Michael Smith, Sophie Vanhoonacker
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780198737322
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

SeriesThe New European Union Series


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