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.

Directorate-General for Trade of the European Commission

Directorate-General for Trade of the European Commission
Dirk De Bivre


The EU has for long been a key actor in the multilateral trade regime. Founded in 1957 with the Treaty of Rome, the then European Economic Community (EEC; re-baptized as the EU in 1992) played a crucial role in international trade policy. It did so both in bilateral trade relations with non-EC members, and on the multilateral level within the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) and the WTO (World Trade Organization). The services within the European Commission in charge of trade policy have played a prominent role in these developments.

This chapter assesses the central role of the European Commission in trade policy ...

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