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.

Introduction: Societal Actors in European Foreign Policy

Introduction: societal actors in European foreign policy
Aasne Kalland Aarstad

This part of the Handbook is dedicated to actors in European foreign policy. More specifically, the five chapters in this part focus on the role of societal actors, understood as representatives, or representations, of collective interests emerging from both national societies and an increasingly visible European society (see Kaiser and Meyer, 2013). Compared to the contributions in Part III on EU actors and institutions and Part IV on state actors, there is little agreement on which societal actors, if any, matter in the context of European foreign policy. We contend that this is an empirical question, which can best be engaged through case ...

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