Research Highlights and Abstract
- A sympathetic critique of the literature on ‘Normative Power Europe’ that incorporates economic liberalism into the repertoire of the EU's constitutive principles.
- The derivation of three ideal type liberal modes of justification for external action and a discussion of their potential complementarities and contradictions.
- An application of the three modes to the case of EU external action.
This article—a sympathetic critique of the literature on ‘Normative Power Europe'—observes that the rationales for EU external action, while understandable in terms of the concept of ‘normative power’, emerge from a variety of overlapping and potentially contradictory liberal arguments. For the purposes of the argument, these liberalisms are organised into three ideal types: market liberalism, the pursuit of peace through liberal means and the ethic of cosmopolitan duty. The article suggests that while it is possible to associate different domains of EU external action with different varieties of liberal discourse, it is often more appropriate to see these policy domains as sites of struggle, negotiation and (perhaps) reconciliation between competing liberal projects.