The European Union in World Politics: An Historical Overview

Christopher Hill, Michael Smith, Sophie Vanhoonacker - Kormoss

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


The European integration process has always been part of international relations more generally defined, and continuously affected by the development of the world arena. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a structured treatment of the historical context for the mutual entanglement of European integration and the broader development of international relations, bearing in mind the threefold framework set out in chapter 1: European integration as a sub-system of international relations, as part of the general processes of international relations, and as a potential or actual ‘power’ in international relations. Although the chapter is broadly chronological in nature, taking developments up to the end of the 20th century and providing background to the topics covered in the following chapters, it does not follow a teleological narrative. It shows how the EU’s international role has continuously been shaped by both by the changing international environment and the continuous interaction between politics, economics and security. At the end of the chapter, readers can find a time line summarising key events in international relations and European integration, 1945-2003.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Relations and the European Union
EditorsC. Hill, M. Smith, S. Vanhoonacker
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9780192897343
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2023


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