European Union foreign policy: Agents, structure, preferences and networks

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Joaquin Roy - Committee Chair


The main objective of this dissertation is to analyze the EU Foreign Policy, which is considered the dependent variable. One independent and three intervening variables are taken into consideration. The independent variable is the uncertainty created by the international system on the EU. There is a strong relationship between international crises and the development of the EU Foreign Policy organization, instruments and practices. In addition to this direct relationship, there are three elements that also affect the dependent variable, once a sense of uncertainty is perceived at the European level. The first is the relative autonomy of Community institutions such as the Commission to converge the interests of the numerous participant actors in the EU foreign policy. The second is the performance of the existing community institutional instruments (either community or intergovernmental) to define foreign policy goals, reach consensus on the actions to be taken, and provide the means to carry them out. The third is the convergence and divergence of the national interests of the governments on particular issues of the EU foreign policy agenda.Three hypotheses are defended in the dissertation. First, the structure of the EU Foreign Policy is developing as a result of the convergence of national interests represented in the Council of the EU when they face an international crisis; the EU is reactive rather than proactive in the field of foreign policy. Second, community agents and interest groups have a relative influence on the formulation of the EU Foreign Policy; although this assumption is most visible in the first pillar, the intergovernmental pillars are also influenced by community actors and interest groups. Third, once an instrument of foreign policy is agreed upon and institutionalized among the member states, the preferences of the states are transformed.The hypothesis is tested in six cases of the relationship with the United States. Two cases related to international politics: the International Criminal Court and the Kyoto Protocol; two economic cases: the Foreign Sales Corporation Act and the U.S. tariff on steel imports; and two soft security cases: the Passenger Name Record and the Galileo Project.


History, European; Political Science, General; Political Science, International Law and Relations

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