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European Union Economic Diplomacy: the role of the EU in external economic relations

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Stephen Woolcock
Ashgate (January 2012)

The European Union is a key player in international economic relations, but its exact role and how it goes about making decisions and negotiating is often poorly understood within and especially outside the EU. When does the EU play a proactive role and when does it follow? When is the EU a distinct actor and when is it just one level in a multi- level process of negotiation in which the member states are the main actors? Does the EU possess normative power in external economic relations? Does the EU have the capability and willingness to use its still significant economic power?

European Union Economic Diplomacy provides the first comprehensive analysis of the factors that determine the role of the EU in economic diplomacy. In an up-to-date treatment that includes consideration of the impact of the Treaty of Lisbon, it contains a comprehensive explanation of decision making and negotiating processes in the core areas of trade, financial market regulation, environmental diplomacy and development co-operation. The book is intended for those interested in EU policy making, but also those who simply need to understand how the EU functions in the field of economic diplomacy.

  • Dr Stephen Woolcock is based in the Department of International Relations at LSE.

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Reviews

'A fascinating academic contribution to deliver comprehensive accounts on the evolutionary development of economic diplomacy conducted by the European Union and by its executive arm, namely the European Commission. A great book to read not only for students and scholars, but also an extremely valuable intellectual input for trade diplomats as well as business persons outside the EU.'
Yorizumi Watanabe, Keio University, Japan and former deputy director-general, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan

'An important and much-needed analysis of the European Union's economic diplomacy. This study fills an important void in both the literature on the European Union and on the complex and often arcane informal and formal policy making processes which shape its economic diplomacy. It will be widely read by both practitioners and scholars.'
Alberta Sbragia, University of Pittsburgh, USA

'A very interesting read that illustrates the steady progress in the field of EU economic diplomacy in the past decades, in particular in the trade domain. The adoption of the Lisbon Treaty and the resulting new challenges and opportunities for Eu economic diplomacy reinforce the relevance of the book. The analytical framework used in Dr Woolcock's work constitutes a significant contribution to the debate on EU economic diplomacy from both an academic viewpoint and that of practitioners.'
Karel De Gucht, European Commissioner for Trade

'The EU's external activities have grown enormously in the last decade: the Euro, the Lisbon Treaty, new leadership in EU Foreign Affairs, have all raised its global profile. The immense value of Woolcock's book is to trace this evolution systematically, starting from external trade which required an international presence - through wider relationships with non-EU countries and overseas development policies - to the vast policy panorama that exists today.'
Roderick Abbott, ECIPE (European Centre for International Political Economy), Brussels, Belgium

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European Union Economic Diplomacy