How to Reduce the Impact of Internal Contestation, Regional Fragmentation and Multipolar Competition on EU Foreign and Security Policy

In a Union of 27 member states, differences in (geo)political interests, socio-economic realities, historical trajectories and national identity construction constantly threaten the internal unity and thus also the external coherence of EUFSP. The following three factors and their mutually reinforcing interplay appear to have a significant impact on the creation and shaping of EU foreign and security policy, especially when it comes to managing international crises and conflicts: internal contestation, regional fragmentation and multipolar competition. The analysis in this paper draws on the main findings from nine case studies carried out under the Horizon 2020 project JOINT. The paper first assesses the (generally negative) impact of the three factors on EUFSP in these contexts of international crises, identifies common patterns and divergent approaches. The second part identifies strategies to mitigate and/ or reduce the (negative) impact of these challenges on EUFSP and points towards windows of opportunity to take action moving forward. The aim of the research is to provide experts and officials with ideas about how EU policy decision-making processes can enable greater coherence among EU institutions and member states in their response to international crises and conflicts.


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