The normative ethics of the European Union

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The creative efforts of the European integration process have changed what passes for ‘normal' in world politics. Simply by existing as different in a world of states and the relations between them, the European Union changes the normality of ‘international relations'. In this respect the EU is a normative power: it changes the norms, standards and prescriptions of world politics away from the bounded expectations of state-centricity. However, it is one thing to say that the EU is a normative power by virtue of its hybrid polity consisting of supranational and international forms of governance; it is another to argue that the EU acts in a normative (i.e. ethically good) way. The focus of this article will be on the ways in which we might judge the normative ethics of the EU in world politics by critically discussing the principles that it seeks to promote, the practices through which it promotes them, and the impact they have.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Affairs (London, 1944)
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)45-60
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

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