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Conference Paper



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How does the EU deal with incoherence and coherence? In this paper we try to answer this research question in order to draw conclusions on the specific nature of the EU as a foreign policy actor. We define coherence and incoherence in EU foreign policy as our dependent variable in a first step. Coherence is understood as a principle guiding foreign policies in the EU as well as other international actors. Effectiveness is crucially linked to the principle of coherence, not only in the EU. However, the way in which the principle of coherence is implemented differs in ideal type polities in foreign policy. By analysing how the EU has dealt with coherence on both a constitutional level and substantive policy‐level, we can on the one hand explore where the EU locates sources of incoherence and addresses these through institutional change. On the other hand, we analyse how the EU addresses vertical and horizontal coherence in substantive policy‐making. Here we rely on EU sanctions and EU crisis‐management as examples of coherence in policy‐making. We conclude by presenting our findings on a) how the EU addresses the principle of coherence and b) which conclusions about the EU’s nature in foreign policy we can draw.


Eastern European Studies | Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Political Science

Research Areas

Political Science


European Studies Association Bi‐annual Convention, Los Angeles, 23-25 April 2009

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Los Angeles, CA

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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