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Unit information: European Foreign Policy in 2020/21

Unit name European Foreign Policy
Unit code POLI30014
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Ana E Juncos Garcia
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The aim of this unit is to give students an in-depth understanding of one of the most dynamic areas of European integration: foreign and security policies. The unit will seek to establish a critical appreciation of current debates about European foreign policy cooperation; the increasing role of EU as a global actor; the problem of forging a common foreign policy among diverse member states; challenges relating to the projection of the EU’s interests and values beyond its contested borders; and the impact of EU policies on national foreign policies and vice versa. The unit will provide an empirically informed understanding of the increasing international role of the EU across a number of policies, including foreign, security and defence policies; democratisation; development; gender, and migration policies. As well as providing an overview of current developments in EU foreign policy, the unit will take a closer look at relations between the EU and its neighbours, competing powers such as the US and Russia and the efforts of the EU to develop a feminist foreign policy.


  • To explore and evaluate the historical evolution of the European Union as an international actor.
  • To provide a critical understanding of the concepts and theories used in the study of the European foreign policy.
  • To examine the formulation and conduct of EU external policies.
  • To offer an evaluation of the wide range of EU foreign policies on a thematic basis, as well as the EU's relations with several countries and regions.
  • To develop a critical assessment of current debates relating to the EU as an international actor.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon completion of this unit students will:

  • Demonstrate substantive knowledge of key concepts and theories used in the study of EU external relations.
  • Show familiarity with the process of formulation and implementation of EU external policies.
  • Have an ability to understand and assess the EUs international role across several policies and regions.
  • Have an understanding of the contemporary debates about the EU as an international actor.
  • Have an ability to plan and write a well-structured role position paper.

Teaching details

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Details

1,000 word essay (25%) 3,000 word essay (75%)

Reading and References

  • Hill, C., Smith, M. and Vanhoonacker, S. (eds.) (2017) International Relations and the European Union, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 3rd ed.
  • Keukeleire, S. & Delreux, T. (2014) The foreign policy of the European Union, Palgrave Macmillan, Houndsmill.
  • Jørgensen, Knud Erik et al. (eds) (2015) The SAGE Handbook of European Foreign Policy, 2-volume set, Sage Publishers.
  • Smith, K. E (2014) European Union Foreign Policy in a Changing World, Polity Press, Cambridge.
  • Merlingen, M. (2011) EU Security Policy. What it is? How it works? Why it matters?, Lynne Rienner, Boulder.
  • Howorth, J (2014) Security and Defence Policy in the European Union, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 2nd ed.
  • Marsh, S. And Rees, W. (2012) The European Union in security of Europe: from Cold War to terror war, Abingdon: Routledge.