Although scholars and practitioners have long argued that greater political coherence will make the European Union a more effective international actor, the relationship between coherence and effectiveness has not been well defined or tested. This article defines the two concepts, proposes three hypotheses regarding the relationship between them, and examines the extent and consequences of EU coherence on an issue that the EU has highlighted as essential to its foreign policy mission: the good functioning of the International Criminal Court (ICC). It finds that the EU exhibited considerable coherence in its response to the United States' campaign for ICC 'nonsurrender agreements', yet failed in its effort to shape the behaviour of other states. Coherence may be necessary for the EU to exert its influence abroad, but it is not sufficient in a multi-centric world order where many others do not share the EU's collective policy preferences and are ready to deploy vast resources in pursuit of their goals. The article also considers the implications of this study for future research on EU foreign policy actorness, coherence and effectiveness.
This article demonstrates that the constitutionalization of the EU began with a political struggle to set the rules by which the community would respond to applications for membership. By mobilizing to block Spain's association with the EEC in 1962, European parliamentarians, trade unionists, and others who believed that democratic and human rights principles should be institutionalized within the community established an informal rule governing the community's policy practice that laid the groundwork for the subsequent constitutionalization of democratic and human rights principles within the community's treaties and jurisprudence. It demonstrates the critical contribution to the political construction of Europe made by non-state actors willing to challenge the preferences of member state governments and shows that otherwise weak actors are significantly empowered when they are able to identify their preferences with pre-existing domestic and international norms.
What is a region and how can we best understand a state's eligibility for membership in a regional political community? Scholars have sought to answer these questions in terms of geographic proximity and social-psychological identity, but neither concept can accommodate the contestation and change that characterize the social construction of regions. Instead, this article argues that the limits of regions are defined within regional organizations by member states' governments plus supranational actors deliberating over a common definition of the characteristics that members and potential members are expected to share. The concept of membership norms thus offers powerful insights into how regional communities define who is eligible for membership, how these definitions change over time and the incentives they create for those seeking to promote or block an applicant state. The evolution of the European Union's membership norms since the 1950s illustrates this argument.
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