During the last two decades the study of European foreign policy has experienced remarkable growth, presumably reflecting a more significant international role of the European Union. The Union has significantly expanded its policy portfolio and though empty symbolic politics still exists, the Union’s international relations have become more substantial and its foreign policy more focused. European foreign policy has become a dynamic policy area, being adapted to changing challenges and environments, such as the Arab Spring, new emerging economies/powers; the crisis of multilateralism and much more. The SAGE Handbook of European Foreign Policy, Two-Volume set, is a major reference work for Foreign Policy Programmes around the world. The Handbook is designed to be accessible to graduate and postgraduate students in a wide variety of disciplines across the humanities and social sciences. Both volumes are structured to address areas of critical concern to scholars at the cutting edge of all major dimensions of foreign policy. The volumes are composed of original chapters written specifically to the following themes: • Research traditions and historical experience • Theoretical perspectives• EU actors• State actors• Societal actors• The politics of European foreign policy• Bilateral relations• Relations with multilateral institutions• Individual policies• Transnational challenges The Handbook will be an essential reference for both advanced students and scholars.

Liberal International Relations Theory and EU Foreign Policy

Liberal international relations theory and EU foreign policy
Derek Beach

Out of the writings on the EU of scholars such as Ernst Haas, Leon Lindberg, and Joseph Nye, modern liberal international relations (IR) theory was born (Haas, 1958, 1961; Lindberg, 1963; Nye, 1970). While the study of the EU is no longer an area of concentration for IR scholars, liberal theories still provide significant contributions to our understanding of EU integration and the impact of the EU in the world.

This chapter adopts a relatively broad understanding of both liberal IR theory and EU foreign policy. Regarding liberal IR theories, I define liberalism as theories that investigate how explanatory factors such as institutions, interdependence ...

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