The Consistency of EU External Action Post-Lisbon: Renewing appropriate measures against Zimbabwe in 2012

A.C.M.E. Marangoni*, S.M.R.L. Vanhoonacker

*Corresponding author for this work

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The Lisbon Treaty has put the consistency of European Union (EU) external action high on the agenda but little is known about how this imperative is concretely given shape. Adopting a single-case-study approach on the EU's decision in 2012 to renew the partial suspension of development cooperation with Zimbabwe (Article 96 measures), this contribution aims to provide better insights into the question of the consistency of this decision. More specifically, this article focuses on the Commission's proposal, on the basis of which the renewal of the suspension was adopted. As a first step it examines the relevant legal (Treaty), substantial (policy framework) and procedural (decision-making) guidelines framing the consistency objective in the EU's relations with Zimbabwe. While this three-level framework plays an important role in facilitating the consistency of the Commission proposal, it is also clear that it does not provide a sufficient guarantee for a consistent policy output. The case study on Zimbabwe shows how other factors such as the international context, the positions of the member states as well as the preferences and interests of individual Directorate Generals play an important role in the final outcome of the Commission's decision-making process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Integration online Papers-EIoP
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • CFSP
  • European Commission
  • Lisbon Treaty
  • development policy
  • policy coordination
  • political science
  • trade policy

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