The Problem of Institutional Responsibility and the European Union
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In order to provide an analytical foundation for this volume on the EU’s global role, my aim in this chapter is to outline a conceptual framework that enables us to assess institutional action in moral terms. It is hoped that this can help to understand what is normatively entailed by the more specific claims made in subsequent chapters about the EU as a responsible actor in international affairs. I will try to show that once we get a grip on the notion of institutional agency and the concomitant notion of institutional responsibility, it will be much easier to make headway on what specific responsibilities the EU may have and what failings and achievements it can be held responsible for in retrospect. It seems to me that we should say not only that institutions are in many cases better equipped than individuals to discharge certain duties, but also that some institutions are clearly better equipped to do so than others. Should we find that this also holds true for the EU in certain areas, then we may be able to draw conclusions directly relevant to policy-making.
KeywordsMoral Responsibility International Relation Moral Agent Moral Duty Moral Consideration
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