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Normative or Strategic Power Europe? Conceptualising the European Union’s Power in the Wider European Neighbourhood (PowerEurope)
Start date: 01 Sep 2008, End date: 31 Aug 2010 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This project aims at conceptualising the European Union’s (EU) power in the wider European neighbourhood through studying the compliance responses of non-EU countries to the EU’s conditions for further inclusion in the European integration project and how these responses are affected by domestic views of the purpose of the EU’s actions. Drawing on empirical evidence from southern and eastern neighbouring states, the project will first investigate the driving forces behind the EU’s policy in the Mediterranean and East Europe and will draw conclusions about the strategic and normative dynamics at the EU decision-making level. Second, it will explore how domestic actors in selected countries perceive the motivation of the EU’s policy and how they react to it. Of particular interest will be the aim of delineating how legitimate the EU’s actions are from the viewpoint of key political players in the respective non-EU states and how this perception affects their privileging of strategic or normative factors in their compliance responses. The two-step analysis will lay the ground for a theoretical synthesis of the EU’s power in the wider European neighbourhood. The working hypothesis is that the legitimacy of the EU’s policy is a key determinant of its lasting impact on non-EU countries. The EU will have more success when its more coercive means support a policy goal easy to justify on normative grounds. On the contrary, when the EU exercises influence against what is stands for as a community of values, its leverage weaker. The project’s contribution can be evaluated through the prism of its innovative methodological approach, original argument and attempted bridging of the Europeanization literature and the foreign policy analysis literature. Through implementation of the project, I expect to strengthen my research aptitude, improve my publication skills, reinforce my research management qualities and diversify my collaborative research networks.
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