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The Consequences of Europe: Multilateralism and the New Security Agenda

John Peterson

This paper argues for a new approach to studying Europe's external relations. It has become analytically indefensible to study Europe either as a model or an actor in isolation from the other, for two simple reasons. First, the EU's 'presence' - that is, the perceptions others have of it as well as the effects it has on others - is now increasingly determined by the Union's 'actorness': its ability to act as a coherent, autonomous and endowed (with a legal personality, diplomatic corps, and so on) agent in international politics, and vice versa. Second, the new security environment enhances both the EU's attraction as a model and the importance of both its policy role (actual or potential) over border security, migration, counterterrorism, energy dependency, trans-border crime, and its template for other regions seeking to reconcile economic free movement and human rights protection with adequate security controls. In short, a holistic inquest into the consequences of Europe assesses its impact on international politics both because of what it is - a model for other regions of the world – as well as what it does. Because it is doing more than ever in foreign policy (broadly defined), it is no longer safe to conclude that the EU influences international politics more because it attracts than because it interacts with other regions.

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