Normative contestation in Europe: Implications for the EU in a changing global order (EU-NORMCON)
We are living a period of intense changes, both at the global and European levels. The years since 2008 have seen remarkable challenges for two agendas that are of key importance for global governance and for the Treaty of the European Union: sustainable development and peace building. In this context, the EU, which in other periods has been a key actor, now struggles to articulate strategies on global governance and multilateralism. This is one of the motivations behind the EUs current process of strategic revision of its external action, through the preparation of a Global Strategy to be unveiled in June 2016. The project EU-NormCom addresses the troubles experienced by the EU as an international actor from a point of view that had yet to be scientifically explored: the new profiles of normative contestation in the EU, their effects on the Unions international actorness and it’s the EUs capacity to tackle the challenges that a shifting global order poses for multilateralism.
The starting point of the analytical framework that this project will put together is that the foundations of some of the values that the EU considers as important and promotes in international fora (social solidarity, sustainable development, humanitarianism), are being eroded by the new profiles of normative contestation. Normative contestation is now less state-centric and more trans-national and, therefore, takes place with the participation of more actors (governments, political parties, think tanks, NGOs, lobbies, media). The project will operationalize the analysis of such changes in terms of cleavages that will provide a means to systematize the European debate.
One of the primary aims of this project is to explore the evolution of normative contestation in the EU (independent variable) in a number of specific issue areas within the broader agendas of sustainable development and peace-building,. The other primary aim of this project is to trace, in a detailed way, the ways in which such normative evolution changes the EUs formulation of its foreign policy in multilateral institutions (dependent variable); and in a more general and aggregated way, to trace how the evolution of normative contestation has changed the way in which the EU faces the great debates on multilateralism. EU-NormCom aims to reach conclusions that will become a reference in the scholarly debates of International Relations and European Studies. On the other hand, it also aims to produce results that might be of practical relevance for institutions and actors involved in the European debate, as shown by our selection of Entities Involved in the Project.