Constraining factors of EU Foreign & Security Policy

JOINT aims to bring analytical clarity to how domestic and systemic factors constrain the development of a more joined-up and sustainable EU foreign & security policy. The context in which the EU and its member states operate is increasingly complex due to three mutually reinforcing processes: 

  • the fractiousness of foreign policy debates inside EU countries, as evidenced by the rise of Eurosceptic parties following the eurozone and migration crises (intra-EU contestation).
  • the fragmentation of regional politics, as evidenced by the erosion of state authority and increased instability across the EU’s external borders (regional fragmentation).
  • the increase in inter-state rivalry, as evidenced by the relative decline of the United States and the rising assertiveness of China and Russia (multipolar competition).

Internal contestation hampers EU foreign policy action, whereby crises and conflicts worsen and the EU loses ground with respect to other powers. 

Regional fragmentation solidifies existing domestic and geopolitical cleavages and produces new ones. 

Multipolar competition creates disincentives for seeking compromises on crises and conflicts and advantages in sowing the seeds of domestic discord in rival countries. 

JOINT will provide a conceptual framework on how the interaction of the three systemic constraints sets the conditions for the EU and its member states to address crises and conflicts.

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