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 EU's Bilateral Relations

Introduction: The EU's relations with multilateral institutions and regions
Katie Verlin Laatikainen

This part of the Handbook turns from the endogenous factors that influence the EU's foreign policy toward the external interlocutors with which the EU interacts. As Hook has noted, ‘foreign policy rests at a delicate juncture between domestic and international politics’ (Hook, 2002: 2). The chapters in this part focus on the EU's external relationships and bring into sharper focus the concept of foreign relations of the EU, rather than the policies themselves or the processes and actors that produce them. Such foreign relations (or foreign policy) ‘involves the intentions, statements and actions of an actor – often but not always a state ...

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