Europe as a Smart Power: The Impact of the European External Action Service

22 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 13 Apr 2014

Date Written: August 8, 2011


Smart power is defined as the effective combination of both hard and soft power. The concept is increasingly used in policy and academic debates, yet a clear understanding of what it actually means is still lacking. As a result, there is little serious consideration of how smart power can contribute to long-standing debates about power in international relations. This article seeks to clarify the meaning of smart power through first analyzing its main components – hard and soft power – separately; and second bringing these components together to re-conceptualize smart power. The aim is to make smart power more analytically useful, and to outline the various ways in which hard and soft power can be combined effectively. The author considers the case of the European External Action Service (EEAS) to argue that the European Union is a smart power actor.

Keywords: EEAS, Smart Power, Soft Power, European Union

Suggested Citation

Cross, Mai'a K. Davis, Europe as a Smart Power: The Impact of the European External Action Service (August 8, 2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN:

Mai'a K. Davis Cross (Contact Author)

ARENA Centre for European Studies ( email )

P.O. Box 1143
Oslo, Oslo 0318
+47 22 85 88 68 (Phone)

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