Panel 201: European, National and Transnational Actors in European Foreign Policy
European, national and transnational actors in European foreign policy
This panel takes an institutional perspective at European foreign policy, and compares the roles and impact of various actors on European foreign policy. In particular, the panel contributions scrutinize the role of the HR/VP (Vicere), the EU special representatives (Lecocq/Reis), the European Council (Jaskulski) and of EU agencies (Gazsi). The panel contributes to our understanding of how the latest reforms in the EU foreign policy architecture impacted on dynamics, power relationships and policy shaping powers between European, national and transnational actors. And it allows for a comprehensive discussion if the EU institutional framework is fit for dealing with the increasing (EU internal) contestation of the EU as an international actor.
This panel has been organised by NORTIA: the JM-Network on Research & Teaching in EU Foreign Affairs (www.eufp.eu/nortia)
Presentations of the Symposium
The Role of the European Council in Ensuring the Coherence of the European Union's External Actions
The aim of the analysis is to present the internal dynamics of the European Council acting as the creator of the European Union's foreign policy in the face of international crises requiring EU response.
The European Council being the main actor creating the EU's activity in external relations is at the same time burdened with the problem of making decisions unanimously. In the period of special crisis situations, such as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in 2014 or the war in Syria, it was necessary to work out a decision that would confirm the European Union's commitment in accordance with its values. However, not all Member States, for political reasons, were inclined to impose a sanction on Russia for its activity in Ukraine. Ultimately, however, it was possible to reach agreement in accordance with the principles and values on which the EU is based.
The conducted analysis will enable defining the role played by the European Council as part of creating EU external relations, through which it is possible to ensure coherence of the EU's activities with its values.
At the same time, an attempt will be made to analyze the reasons and premises that lead to the inability to ensure this consistency in critical situations.
EU Decentralised Agencies as Proxies for Horizontal Europeanization: The Integration of Third-party Countries into the Framework of European and Global Rules, Norms and Practices
The EU’s ambitions in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) area resemble those in the Enlargement context: the approximation of its partners to its rules, norms and practices (Wolczuk, 2014). However, the effectiveness of the Europeanization agenda based largely on top-down and bottom-up logics (see Schimmelfennig 2015) has been limited in triggering overarching transformations in domestic political systems in the ENP space (Börzel and Lebanidze, 2017). At the same time, a few studies demonstrate positive impact at the sectoral level achieved through horizontal functional cooperation, particularly in the Eastern Neighbourhood (Lavenex and Schimmelfennig, 2011). Moreover, it is asserted that such changes are likely to spread further across sectoral and geographical boundaries (Haas, 1975), and ‘spill over’ into higher levels of policy-making (Freyburg, 2015). Considering this, the current paper argues that EU decentralised agencies – i.e. the EU’s sector- level governance bodies – are well placed to advance Europeanization as the Union’s proxies in third- party countries. In so doing, agencies also contribute to the integration of their partners into the global framework of rules and norms promoted by the UN and other international actors. Similarly, the activities of these actors often support the convergence of partner countries with the EU’s acquis. Analysing the mandate and external governance of two agencies – Frontex and Europol – vis-á-vis two Eastern neighbours – Moldova and Georgia –, the paper provides data on the activities and impact of agencies concerning the horizontal transfer of rules, norms and practices. Through the analysis of national policies and institutional structures, as well as semi-structured interviews conducted with local, EU, and international officials, it analyses the mechanisms used, and traces the domestic transformations induced by the two agencies. The collected data illustrates positive impact, suggesting that the EU should put more emphasis on horizontal functional cooperation and the involvement of decentralised agencies in its Europeanization endeavour and agenda for ‘strengthening the multilateral order’ (see EEAS 2016).