International Politics

, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 272–287 | Cite as

Between soft power, neo-Westphalianism and transnationalism: the European Union, (trans)national interests and the politics of strategy

  • Neil WinnEmail author
Original Article


Can we speak of a joined up European Union (EU) Grand Strategy in the world? Strategy-based policy-making in the EU is a shared enterprise between the EU and its member state governments. The EU and its member states focus in the EUGS (Shared vision, common action: a stronger Europe: a Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy, Brussels,, 2016) on the EU homeland as a priority and not the Neighbourhood or the global level of diplomacy as was the case previously in the ESS (A secure Europe in a better world,, 2003). This is partly as a result of changing EU foreign policy priorities and partly as a result of the reassertion of national interests into the EU’s transnational foreign policy. EU Grand Strategy has shifted focus from the global to the regional level reflecting the new pragmatic turn in EU foreign policy. The new strategy is more regional, more pragmatic, and less ambitious in furthering the EU as a global actor as a result.


European Union Grand strategy Security culture Transnationalism Sovereignty 



An earlier version of this article was presented at the workshop “Geopolitics and strategic thinking in EU foreign policy” at the 3rd European Workshops in International Studies, 6–8 April 2016, University of Tübingen. I would like to thank the workshop organisers Cristian Nitoiu and Monika Sus for their thorough feedback and would also like to thank the workshop participants for their valuable comments. Thanks are also due to the International Politics anonymous reviewers and editors for their comprehensive and constructive comments.


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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Politics and International StudiesUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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