The EU in the UN and the Syrian Crisis: Talking with One Voice?

Evangelos Fanoulis, Prof. Christian Kaunert, Institute of European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

The EU Global Strategy emphasises a shared vision on foreign policy and security questions. This shared vision implicates a great level of coordination between EU institutions and member-states, coordination with other international organisations - most notably the United Nations - and coordination of EU member-states within these fora. Assessing the EU's stance on the Syrian crisis in the context of the UN and drawing upon empirical qualitative research, the study argues that the EU has managed to coordinate on Syria and present a joint position in the UN, yet this position has been defined to the least common denominator; it limits to raising awareness on the gravity of the Syrian conflict and keeping its different aspects on the UN agenda. Such a moderate position has been due to different reasons: the complexity of the conflict per se; the limitations of what the EU can do in the framework of the UN Security Council's realpolitik; and highly divergent views of EU member-states associated with the refugee crisis.

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