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: The Politics of European Foreign Policy

Introduction: The politics of European foreign policy
Asne Kalland Aarstad

What explains the emphasis on multilateral cooperation in the 2003 European Security Strategy? How should we understand the EU's emphasis on external trade relations, dating back to the Treaty of Rome? And what should we make of the content of the EU foreign-policy toolbox, not to mention the decisions on when to use civilian or military instruments? European foreign policy is commonly understood by taking multiple factors into consideration such as actors, treaties, events and external demands. However, for the purpose of answering these questions, one factor is (too) often overlooked in existing scholarly research, namely the politics of European foreign policy. This ...

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