The Normative Basis of the Functioning of the European Union in International Relations – A Theoretical Approach
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Uniwersytet Warszawski
Publication date: 2016-12-31
Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations 2016;52(4):67-89
The aim of the article is to perform an theoretical analysis of the normative basis of the European Union as a unique participant in international relations. This uniqueness has to do with such factors as the special system of norms based on the set of values adopted by the EU. These can be described as ‘European values’, including mainly such principles as democracy, rule of law, broadly defined human rights (fundamental rights), civil liberties, social solidarity and justice. While they constitute the basis for the overall functioning of the EU as an integration structure, they are particularly important for the Union’s activity in the international arena because the adoption of this kind of normative basis makes it possible for the EU to play the role of a normative power in the international environment, exerting influence mostly by diffusing its own system of values, in this case the European values. In order to analyse this issue, one first need to identify the scope of the term and the structure of international norms. This will be followed by the presentation of the set of norms that regulate the functioning of the EU, which will finally lead to the presentation of the relevant key theoretical concepts, in particular all theories describing the EU as a normative power.
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