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.

Political parties and interest groups

Political parties and interest groups
Bart Kerremans Yf Reykers


Do parties and interest groups matter? And, if they matter, to what extent and through which means do they play their role in EU foreign policy? Throughout this chapter the role of these two divergent and somewhat opaque actors in the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the EU will be discussed at length. The impact of political parties (both national and European) and interest groups will be addressed separately. This is due to their initially divergent formal and informal embedding at the national and EU levels. In dealing with these questions we conceptualize EU foreign policy as the CFSP primarily because ...

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