The EU in the World of International Organizations: Diplomatic Aspirations, Legal Hurdles and Political Realities
21 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2013
Date Written: September 1, 2013
The Lisbon Treaty emphasizes the European Union’s (EU) commitment to multilateralism. A key part of this is the EU’s engagement with and participation in international organizations (IOs). While the EU has clear ambitions to take part and play a leading role in IOs, it faces significant obstacles in making this a reality. This paper begins by outlining the status the EU currently enjoys in IOs, ranging from full member to observer or no status at all. It then examines some of the legal and political issues the EU faces when seeking to join or upgrade its status in an IO. Issues such as representation in areas of shared competence and the difficulties arising from parallel membership in an IO are discussed. It then examines how the EU goes about choosing which IOs to seek closer co-operation with, discussing its efforts to improve its representation in three IOs: the Arctic Council, the International Maritime Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency. It is submitted that the EU’s involvement in IOs is as much a legal issue as it is a political and diplomatic one. Upgrading the EU’s status in IOs requires more than legal changes; it requires careful diplomacy to ensure that the EU’s international status lives up to its external aspirations.
Keywords: European Union, EU External Relations, EU Diplomacy, International Organizations, Arctic Council, International Maritime Organization, International Atomic Energy Agency
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