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Normative Power Europe: A Credible Utopia?


  • The authors would like to thank Thomas Diez, Hans-Jörg Trenz and two anonymous referees for their very helpful comments on earlier drafts of this article.

Sibylle Scheipers
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Chatham House
10 St James's Square
London SW1Y 4LE, UK
Tel +44 (0) 20 7314 3612

Daniela Sicurelli
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Department of Sociology and Social Research
University of Trento
Piazza Venezia, 41
38100, Trento, Italy
Tel +39 (0)461 881483


Studies on the international identity of the EU have stressed the normative feature of European foreign policy. At the same time, scholars have pointed out that the inconsistency between the EU's rhetoric and behaviour and the lack of reflexivity undermines its credibility. How does reflexivity affect collective identity? To what extent does the EU's utopian rhetoric affect its credibility as a normative power? In order to address these questions, we investigate the self-representation of the EU as an international actor, the extent to which this self-representation provides a basis for reflexivity and, finally, the impact of the EU's identity narratives on its credibility. We focus on the normative power of the EU in the institutionalization of the International Criminal Court and in the elaboration and ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.