The European Union as a Normative Foreign Policy Actor

CEPS Working Documents No. 281

38 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2009

See all articles by Nathalie Tocci

Nathalie Tocci

Istituto Affari Internazionali

Date Written: January 23, 2008


This is the second in a series of papers from a new project entitled "Who is a normative foreign policy actor? The European Union and its Global Partners". The first paper - entitled Profiling Normative Foreign Policy: The European Union and its Global Partners, by Nathalie Tocci, CEPS Working Document No. 279, December 2007 - set out the conceptual framework for exploring this question. The present paper constitutes one of several case studies applying this framework to the behavior of the European Union, whereas the others to follow concern China, India, Russia and the United States. A normative foreign policy is rigorously defined as one that is normative according to the goals set, the means employed and the results obtained. Each of these studies explores eight actual case examples of foreign policy behavior, selected in order to illustrate four alternative paradigms of foreign policy behavior - the normative, the realpolitik, the imperialistic and the status quo. For each of these four paradigms, there are two examples of EU foreign policy, one demonstrating intended consequences and the other, unintended effects. The fact that examples can be found that fit all of these different types shows the importance of 'conditioning factors', which relate to the internal interests and capabilities of the EU as a foreign policy actor as well as the external context in which other major actors may be at work.

Keywords: EU Neighbourhood, Foreign and Security Policy

Suggested Citation

Tocci, Nathalie, The European Union as a Normative Foreign Policy Actor (January 23, 2008). CEPS Working Documents No. 281, Available at SSRN: or

Nathalie Tocci (Contact Author)

Istituto Affari Internazionali ( email )

Via Angelo Brunetti, 9
Rome, 00186

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics