chapter  9
22 Pages

European globalisation and world order politics


Until recently, social scientists, journalists and politicians have been inclined to portray the global role of the EU in simplified terms. On the one hand, it has become quite common to characterise the EU – like the former Belgian foreign minister, Mark Eyskens – as an ‘economic giant, political dwarf and military worm’ (New York Times, January 25, 1991). Within the academic debate this view was supported by many scholars who, often referring to the meanwhile famous slogan by Christopher Hill (1993), saw the foreign and security policy of the EU trapped in a ‘capability-expectations gap’. On the other hand, more and more scientists responded to such ‘weak Europe’ arguments by challenging the traditional realist view of international power politics. They argued that this view is outdated as it ignores the more subtle capabilities of the EU to shape its international environment via the definition of regulatory and normative standards in the fields of ecological, social and human rights policies. In this sense, so the logic of the counter-argument, it would be more appropriate to conceive of the EU as a new kind of global power, that is mainly a ‘civil’ or ‘normative’ power (Orbie, 2006; Manners, 2002).