Operationalizing the EU’s ‘Strategic Partnership’ Concept with the United States of America
Dr. Scott Brown
Since the Maastricht Treaty entered force, the EU has increased the scope of its ambitions to affect global affairs. The 2003 European Security Strategy (ESS) affirmed that the EU was ‘inevitably a global player’ and thus ‘should be ready to share in the responsibility for global security and in building a better world.’ To facilitate this important role, the ESS called for the development of ‘strategic partnerships’ with established and emerging powers to support and reinforce the advancement of European goals and values. In subsequent years, the extent to which relations with the identified strategic partners are genuinely strategic has been widely debated, with considerable criticism directed at the EU for failing to act in a strategic manner. Nevertheless, EU policymakers continue to endorse the ‘strategic actor’ and ‘strategic partnership’ concepts and invoke them within policy discourse when referring to relations with other major international players.
This project will analyze whether the EU has become a more strategic actor in international affairs through learning from past experience of managing its key external relations. It would do so through an in-depth case study of the EU’s strategic partnership with the United States. Previous studies have often questioned whether the EU can be considered a fully strategic actor at a given point in time, with less consideration given over to whether it is becoming more (or possibly less) so over time. This research would address the latter by employing organizational learning theory to determine whether the management of arguably the EU’s most important external relationship is informed by a concerted effort by the relevant actors within its institutions to learn from past experience and develop new practices and processes.
Scott Brown. “The EU’s Strategic Adaptation to Trump’s Transatlantic Trade Policy” Working Paper GTJMCE-2020-2.