This paper sets out the context for studying the EU's participation in international regimes, and situates the issue in the context of the general literature on international regimes and the EU's international roles. The aim is to undertake a stock-taking of where we are with the pursuit of 'effective multilateralism', to relate this to the EU's activities in a variety of regimes, and to try to identify an agenda for further research and conceptual development. The paper presents four perspectives on the EU's relationship to and engagement with international regimes. First, it presents institutionalist approaches; second, norm-centred approaches; third, power-centred approaches; fourth negotiation-centred approaches.
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