EU Foreign Policy Change: an Advocacy Coalition Approach

Trineke Palm

Foreign policy is often studied through the lens of International Relations or classic foreign policy analysis. In the case of the EUs foreign policy, integration theories can be added. However, less often foreign policy change is examined using public policy theories, although especially the latter is able to capture the underlying mechanisms of ideational continuity and change in foreign policy. This paper aims to bring together the different streams of literature. It first reviews the existing conceptualizations and theories of foreign policy change. Then it explores the way in which the Advocacy Coalition Framework helps our understanding of the changing nature of the EU's multilevel foreign policy. It distinguishes between three mechanisms of policy change: institutional learning, hard bargaining and soft bargaining. Moreover, it argues that focusing on the resources and (institutional) constraints of different coalitions allows for assessing the conditions under which EU foreign policy change.

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