European External Action provides a critical assessment of the practice of EU diplomacy in a key site of Africa-European relations and the global development industry - the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. It analyses how the EU positions itself through its newly established diplomatic corps, the European External Action Service (EEAS), and how it is perceived as a collective geopolitical actor by its external cooperation partners. Going beyond existing studies on EU policy making in Brussels and African-European relations more generally, this book explores in a novel way the conduct of external relations and perceptions of the EU - abroad. Based on institutional ethnography within the EU Delegation in Nairobi and research affiliation with the University of Nairobi, as well as interviews with leading individuals of Kenyan-European interaction, it analyses the practices, processes and perceptions through which EU diplomacy is enacted and realised in a strategic node of global North-South relations. In light of the EU’s claim as a key partner for developing countries and its ambition to be a major player in global politics, European External Action thereby speaks not only to wider debates on the EU’s role as a global and development actor, but also provides new insights in the internal dynamics and the making of external agency in and through EU diplomacy.
’As the European Union seeks to position itself as a distinct global actor, understanding the workings of an emergent European diplomacy is crucial for scholars and policy-makers alike. Through its critical evaluation of what the Europeanization� of diplomacy means in practice - and especially how it is being perceived by one of Europe’s most important partners - Bachmann’s book offers a fascinating insight.’ Luiza Bialasiewicz, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands ’This major contribution to critical geopolitics breaks new grounds with an empirically rich account of the making of EU diplomacy in Nairobi. It effectively decentres the analysis of the newly established European External Action Service (EEAS) through participant observation at the EU Delegation and interviews with members of the local diplomatic corps about their perception of the EU and their expectations.’ Virginie Mamadouh, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Contents: Introduction: an emerging EU diplomacy? Part One External Relations at a Critical Moment: Instruments of conduct of European external relations; European geopolitical discourse and the EU as a 'model' in times of crisis; External dimensions of Europeanisation and regulated spaces of interaction; An institutional ethnography of the sites of diplomatic conduct in Nairobi; Methodological remarks: data acquisition in the networked places of EU diplomacy in Nairobi. Part Two The Service in Action - Establishing Collective Diplomacy in Nairobi: Positioning collective Europe abroad: operating EU diplomacy; Perceiving collective Europe abroad: interaction with the 'partners'; What should the EU do? Expectations of the EU as a geopolitical actor; The EU's global role: what happened to the model?; Conclusion: a less global and a more European Union? References; Index.