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European Integration and Global Governance

Following this discussion, it needs to be recognized that the EU's perspective on global governance has developed in the context of the EU not being a state, and the nature of statehood among its member states having been transformed. As such, the EU remains an aberration in a world of states where the principle of sovereignty remains an essential building block. Nevertheless, the EU has developed considerable actorness (Groenleer and van Schaik 2007) and also been given legal personality in engaging with the rest of the world. The EU plays a direct role in many international fora (like climate change negotiations), has a seat in international institutions (such as the WTO), and its leaders are present at important multilateral meetings (like the G7). Even if it is not a major power in the traditional sense, the EU is a key player in a range of global governance issues (J0rgensen 2013).

At the same time, its influence in international security is largely limited to non-traditional security issues, and even here it frequently finds itself in competition with its own member states, in particular the larger countries that possess unique assets and structural power derived from their permanent seats in the UN Security Council to play a separate global role. In this context, the EU has difficulty to be accepted as a security actor in its own neighbourhood and is virtually absent from security issues elsewhere.

As a result, there is considerable tension between the capacity and influence the EU has in areas such as global trade and climate change, and its limitations to be taken seriously in the field of hard security—a tension that gives the EU a particular role in, and perspective on, global governance. Key aspects of this perspective are the support for multilateralism and international institutions; the development of legally binding international agreements and a robust system of international law; the assistance provided, directly and indirectly, in the context of the formation of regional institutions in other parts of the world (Jetschke and Murray 2012); and an the emphasis on partnership with third countries rather than on rivalry, competition, and potential conflict. In section 10.3.1, we will briefly examine each of these points in order to identify the motivation behind, and the projection of, these elements of an EU perspective on global governance.

 
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