These two passages beg the question, is the European Union indeed – due to its sui generis institutional setup – hampered by its homemade structural problems, resulting in it being ‘less than the sum of its parts’ (Joffe) and thus calling into question its significance in terms of “actorness and power”? Or, is Piening more accurate with his rather positive assertion regarding influence and impact on the world, claiming that the EU as an international actor is more advanced than any international organization or even most states? In view of the continued integration and institutionalization in the realm of EU foreign policy since these assertions were made, as well as the evolution of the Union’s foreign and security policy practice, these contradictory statements may be considered ‘old
conventional wisdom’ regarding the EU’s foreign policy, and may ‘no longer [seem] to accurately reflect political reality’ (Krotz and Maher 2011, 548). Nevertheless, newer expert evaluations still hold that foreign policy cooperation among EU member states and institutions remains as problematic as it once was and indeed varies across policy issues, today and retrospectively (see also Thomas and Tonra 2012).