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date: 21 October 2018

Summary and Keywords

As a research field, European foreign policy (EFP) is defined as the study of how certain European states manage their foreign policy responsibilities, whether individually, through coordinated national foreign policies, or through EU policies and institutions. EFP effectively comprises at least three major research fields: traditional foreign policy analysis (FPA) or comparative foreign policy (CFP); theories of international relations (IR) or international cooperation; and the study of European integration. The critical link between these fields involves the growing role of the EU as a major reference point for “Europe,” so much so that it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish EU foreign policy from European foreign policy. There are two major phases in the emergence of EFP as a research field: the first recognition of European foreign policy cooperation and some very limited conceptual innovation; and the period surrounding the advent of the Single European Act, which placed European foreign policy cooperation on a new institutional path that resulted in the reforms under the Treaty on European Union. The study of EFP expanded considerably following the negotiation of the Maastricht Treaty on European Union (TEU) of 1991. Several major empirical themes within these periods, which has persisted to the present-day EFP research agenda, include the status of EFP political influence relative to other global actors, particularly the US; a seeming disconnect between EFP procedures and substance; tensions between the economic/trade and political/security dimensions of EFP; and the relative inputs of European states versus EU institutional actors, particularly the European Commission.

Keywords: European foreign policy, EU foreign policy, Singe European Act, Maastricht Treaty, European Commission, comparative foreign policy, international relations, European integration

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