Theorizing the European Neighbourhood Policy: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Theorizing the European Neighbourhood Policy

1st Edition

Edited by Sieglinde Gstöhl, Simon Schunz


294 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

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Despite growing scholarly interest in the EU’s flagship policy towards its Eastern and Southern neighbours, serious attempts at theory-building on the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) have been largely absent from the academic debate.

This book aims at contributing to fill this research gap in a three-fold manner: first and foremost it aims at theorizing the ENP as such, explaining the origins, development and effectiveness of this policy. Building on this effort, it also pursues the broader objective of addressing certain shortcomings in EU external relations theory, and even beyond, in International Relations theory. Finally, it aspires to provide new insights for European policy-makers. It is one of the first volumes to provide different theoretical perspectives on the ENP by revisiting and building bridges between mainstream and critical theories, stimulating academic and policy debates and thus setting a novel, less EU-centric research agenda.

This text will be of key interest to scholars, students and practitioners in EU external relations, EU foreign policy, the European Neighbourhood Policy, and more broadly in European Union Politics and International Relations.


"The volume is a very successful example of an eclectic perspective which tackles a wide range of aspects of the ENP, but is also unified by the larger finding that this policy has been largely EU-centric, which in turn, has hindered the EU’s ability to influence developments in the neighbourhood… the volume is an important breakthrough in the study of the EU’s approach towards its neighbours."

Cristian NITOIU, Aston Centre for Europe, Aston University, Eastern Journal for European Studies

Table of Contents

Foreword: The 2015 Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy [Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner]


1. Theoretical Approaches to the European Neighbourhood Policy [Sieglinde Gstöhl]

Part I: Rationalism vs. Constructivism: Inside-out and Outside-in

2. Rationalist and Constructivist Approaches to the European Neighbourhood Policy: A Growing Prevalence of Interests over Identity? [Elsa Tulmets]

3. Rational Institutionalism, Constructivism or Both? A Spatial Econometric Approach to Measuring the Impact of Incentives and Socialization in the European Neighbourhood Policy [Sara Kahn-Nisser]

4. The Russian Federation’s Posture towards the European Neighbourhood Policy: A Neoclassical Realist Explanation [Serena Giusti]

5. Russia’s Perception of the European Neighbourhood Policy: A Constructivist Explanation [Natalia G. Zaslavskaya]

Part II: Beyond EU-Centrism: Neglected (F)actors

6. The Role of Bounded Rationality in Explaining the European Neighbourhood Policy: The Eastern Dimension [Teodor Lucian Moga]

7. A Structural Foreign Policy Perspective on the European Neighbourhood Policy [Panagiota Manoli]

8. Empowerment of Domestic Stakeholders: From Outcome-oriented to Process-oriented Europeanization in the ENP Countries [Ryhor Nizhnikau]

9. The Practice of EU Power Relations with International Organizations in the Neighbourhood: Imperator or Primus Inter Pares? [Michal Natorski]

Part III: The EU and the Other(s): Conflict or Cooperation?

10. Between the Eastern Partnership and the Eurasian Economic Union: Competing Region-building Projects in the ‘Common Neighbourhood’ [Laure Delcour and Kataryna Wolczuk]

11. Turning a Problem into a Solution? The Potential of Interregionalism between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union [Ueli Staeger]

12. ‘The Political’ and the ENP: Rethinking EU Relations with the Eastern Region [Elena A. Korosteleva, Eske Van Gils and Igor Merheim-Eyre]

13. Proactive Cosmopolitanism, Proactive Governmentality? Secessionist Conflicts and EU Democracy Promotion [Nicola Del Medico]


14. Theorizing the European Neighbourhood Policy – Towards a Research Programme [Simon Schunz]

About the Editors

Sieglinde Gstöhl is Director of the Department of EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. She has been full-time professor at the College since 2005. From 1999-2005 she was Assistant Professor of International Relations at Humboldt University Berlin. She holds a PhD and an MA in International Relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva as well as a degree in Public Affairs from the University of St. Gallen. She was, inter alia, a research fellow at the Liechtenstein Institute and at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.

Simon Schunz is Professor in the Department of EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies at the College of Europe in Bruges. He previously worked, inter alia, for DG Research and Innovation of the European Commission, where he was in charge of the social sciences research on the EU as a global actor, including its neighbourhood policies, and the University of Leuven (KU Leuven), where he continues to lecture.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in European Foreign Policy

The European foreign policy series publishes cutting edge work on Europe’s role in global politics. Europe and the EU now face multiple challenges including: a changing power structure within international relations, tensions in transatlantic relations; a new politics of climate change; continuing conflict in the Middle East; assertive Russian action in Ukraine and other countries on the EU’s eastern borders; and the euro’s impact on the EU’s global power.

Additionally, the Union’s own internal institutional processes have undergone far-reaching change in recent years, new ambitions for the EU in its Global Strategy and a plethora of strategies has been introduced covering Asia, trade, counter-terrorism, democracy and human rights, geo-economics, and other regions and topics.

This series addresses the standard range of conceptual and theoretical questions related to European foreign policy. At the same time, in response to the intensity of new policy developments, it endeavors to ensure that it also has a topical flavor, addressing the most important and evolving challenges to European foreign policy, in a way that will be relevant to the policy-making and think-tank communities.

Key topics include:

  • The EU’s responses to the emergence of a new geopolitics in the Middle East;

  • European and EU policy towards the east, as it grapples with conflict in Ukraine and instability elsewhere across the region covered by the Eastern Partnership;

  • Europe’s changing engagement with rising powers, and in particular with Asia;

  • Transatlantic relations;

  • The foreign policy impact of the EU’s internal crisis;

  • The new Energy Union, energy security and climate change;

  • Europe’s relationship to its southern neighbours in the Mediterranean and in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa.

If you have an idea for a new book in Routledge Studies in European Foreign Policy, please send a written proposal to the Series Editors:

[email protected]  

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Professor Richard G. Whitman is Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent.

Professor Richard YOUNGS is Professor of International Relations at the University of Warwick and Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


For guidance on how to structure your proposal, please visit:

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