European Worldviews: Ideas and the European Union in World Politics
Title: European Worldviews: Ideas and the European Union in World Politics
Author: VENNESSON, Pascal
Series/Number: EUI RSCAS; 2007/07
In international politics, what do the leaders of the European Union (EU) want? How do they understand international relations and how do they see the EU in world politics? The goal of this paper is to provide an introduction to the collective research on ‘European Worldviews’. This research applies first-image thinking, in particular Nathan Leites’ operational code analysis, to five key figures and office holders of the European Union: Javier Solana, Robert Cooper, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Peter Mandelson and Joseph Borg. We explore these EU officials’ worldviews, the set of ideas and values about history and politics which shape their political strategies and their action. First, the paper puts the analysis of European worldviews in a wider theoretical context: the revival of idea-based explanation in International Relations and the rise of realist theories of foreign policy taking policymakers’ strategic assessments and problem-solving styles seriously. Second, the paper presents the operational code approach, and explain its added value to analyze European worldviews. Third, it focuses on the relations between worldviews and the EU in world politics. Finally, this paper argues that European worldviews matter because they are deeply embedded in political action and provide identity and power to the EU in world politics. They interact with the individual characteristics of policy-makers, with the institutional context of their action, and with the international environment in which they act. The conclusion spells out a research agenda and suggests some policy implications.
Subject: European Union; First image; Foreign Policy; Ideas; Leites (Nathan); Operational Code; Strategy; Worldviews
Type of Access: openAccess