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Mr. M. Neuman: Keeping the European Union's foreign policy in Czech: A study of the Czech Republic's influence on the European Union's foreign policy vis-à-vis Russia and the larger post-Soviet space

When:Mo 04-03-2013 at 12:45

PhD ceremony: Mr. M. Neuman, 12.45 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Keeping the European Union's foreign policy in Czech: A study of the Czech Republic's influence on the European Union's foreign policy vis-à-vis Russia and the larger post-Soviet space

Promotor(s): prof. P.M.E. Volten

Faculty: Arts

Eight years after the 2004/2007 EU enlargement to the East, it is worth analyzing whether the Czech Republic has learned to use the European Union as yet another level for policy-making. Specifically, the study focuses on the extent to which the Czech Republic is able to translate its national foreign policy preferences vis-à-vis Russia and the larger post-Soviet space into foreign policy conducted by the European Union.

The bulk of Neuman’s study, which makes use of both liberal intergovernmentalist and social constructivist approaches to the study of European integration, consists of three empirical case studies. The first one studies the recently launched Eastern Partnership, which has added a distinct Eastern dimension to the European Neighbourhood Policy. The second assesses whether Prague succeeded in enhancing the EU’s energy security through – among others – reducing the EU’s energy dependence on Russia. The third case takes on a more normative subject, by analyzing whether the Czech Republic injected the EU with new impetus regarding its external democratization agenda. Neuman concludes that the Czech Republic achieved mixed results in its quest to translate its national preferences regarding Russia and the larger post-Soviet space into broader EU foreign policy. While Prague, with the support of like-minded countries and other coalition partners, at times succeeded in amending the EU’s foreign policy towards Eastern Europe in line with its own preferences in few – and rather specific – areas, it failed to do so in many others. Based on these empirical findings, Neuman concludes with outlining three master variables that to a large extent determine the success – or failure – of a country to influence the EU’s foreign policy; (i) the quality of the national preference, (ii) the ability to position oneself as a norm entrepreneur, and (iii) the character of interstate negotiations and one’s negotiation skills.

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