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EU Normative Power on Climate Change: Force for the Good and Good for the Force

Edith Vanden Brande

Ian Manners (2002) described the identity of the EU as an international actor as normative power and triggered a lively debate. Pace (2007) calls for criticism of NPEU and argues that this concept is better seen as a discursive self-construction than an objective analytical concept. While Pace focuses on the construction of NPEU and the self-representation as a force for the good as "Othering", this paper sheds light on the self-construction of EU normative power and how this construction is used to empower certain agents engaged in the discursive practice. This paper explores the European Commission as an agent, it argues that the discourse on NPEU is used to show its own relevance and is presented as an unifying cause for the integration project. We argue that NPEU is used to fill the community deficit in the European Union and is related to a wider attempt to build European identity. This paper investigates the notion of EU as normative power in the climate change debate as case par excellence.

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