Leadership or Leaderless? EU Foreign Policy in a Time of Crisis and Change

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
JWS - Stevenson Lecture Theatre (University of Glasgow)
Lisbeth Aggestam , University of Gothenburg
This paper focuses on leadership in EU foreign policy. The European Union is currently experiencing one of its severest existential crisis in its history. The success story of its power of attraction and as a model of international cooperation and integration is challenged. The solidarity between EU member states is tested like never before. In these times of crisis, the call for leadership is often heard. But what does leadership mean and who can exercise it in EU foreign policy and how? This paper aims to explore these questions by way of using role theory. I argue in this paper that role theory has several advantages in helping us conceptualize leadership as a relational activity and process between leader and followers. The empirical case that is explored in the paper is the role played by the EU High Representative in drafting a common global strategy for the European Union in 2016. The empirical findings draw on a telephone survey and qualitative interviews with European and national foreign policy-makers.