The prevalent impression that the EU is plagued by several deep crises mainly relates to its domestic politics. For many pro-European actors, a more united EU is the only way of avoiding marginalisation by rising powers in a rapidly changing world. Much of the political discourse on the EU in the world thus refers to political long-term goals rather than current realities, especially in the field of military action. On the other hand, the EU was and is a very powerful actor in many areas and its powers are increasing. As a matter of fact, EU power varies strongly across issues.
The course will look at this topic from several angles. First, it will look at the actual role played by the EU in various policy fields and in relation to specific actors in order to see the strength, weaknesses and consequences of EU action in different issues. Second, it will look at current shortcomings of a stronger EU action and plans to address them in order to contrast rhetoric with reality and to get a realistic image of what is achievable. Topics range from digital sovereignty and ideas about a ‘normative power' to policy-specific plans in security or democracy promotion. It is a cross-cutting theme, which is how EU external relations work in practice. The course does not require major knowledge about the EU. It is suitable for students with a broad interest in world politics.