A Global Civilian Power? The Future Role of the European Union in International Politics


  • Bedrudin Brljavac
  • Maximilian Conrad




Questions about the future of the European Union as an international actor continue to puzzle students of international relations and particularly students of EU foreign policy. What kind of predictions can we make about the future role of the EU in international politics? While the question is often framed in terms of military versus normative and/or global civilian power Europe, there are indications that ambitions in both directions may very well coincide. However, despite the EU’s development towards deepened defense integration since the 1990s, such developments are by far outweighed by developments pointing in the direction of the EU consolidating its role as a global civilian power. In this article, we analyze the union’s civilian policies and contrast the findings of our analysis with developments in the field of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Based on our analysis of EU enlargement policy, external aid, global environmental policy and the union’s commitment to multilateralism, our conclusion is that the EU’s international role in the next decades will continue to be best described in terms of a global civilian power.

Author Biographies

Bedrudin Brljavac

M.Sc. in European Politics, Lund University.

Maximilian Conrad

Assistant Professor, University of Iceland.




How to Cite

Brljavac, B., & Conrad, M. (2011). A Global Civilian Power? The Future Role of the European Union in International Politics. Icelandic Review of Politics & Administration, 7(1), 97–116. https://doi.org/10.13177/irpa.a.2011.7.1.6



Peer Reviewed Articles