Beyond the comfort zone: internal crisis and external challenge in the European Union's response to rising powers



    1. Professor of European Politics and Jean Monnet Chair in the Department of Politics, History and International Relations at Loughborough University
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This article explores the extent to which the European Union (EU) has responded effectively to the rising powers of Asia, Latin America and Africa, and whether the Union has been able to construct an effective diplomacy for dealing with them. It starts from the observation that the EU has significantly developed its diplomatic apparatus since the Lisbon Treaty, and that this apparatus is largely directed towards the establishment of negotiated order at the regional and global levels. The article identifies a number of tensions and contradictions that arise from the EU's status and role in the global arena and that feed into its quest for negotiated order. It goes on to assess the challenges to EU positions and strategies that arise not only from the emergence of new powers in the world arena, but also from the changes in global structures and processes that accompany this development. The article then investigates how these challenges have interacted with the search for negotiated order in a series of issue areas: security, commercial policy, development, environment and energy. It argues that in recent years the EU has, in a variety of ways, been taken outside its comfort zone and that while the European Union can and must seek to re-establish negotiated order in its external relations, the challenge of doing so is severe.