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.

The Balance of Power

The balance of power
Dirk Peters


International Relations (IR) theory has traditionally looked at power as a key concept of international politics. Realist theory holds that the international system is characterized by an uneven distribution of power where actors can be differentiated according to the power they possess. How much power they have and whether the overall distribution of power is balanced or not significantly affects what they can and what they will do in international politics. How does this translate to the EU? How does the position of the EU and its member states in the international balance of power affect EU foreign and security policies?

This question sits somewhat uneasily within EU research at large. The ...

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