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The European Union’s Latin America policy: a study of foreign policy change and coordination

Schade, Daniel (2016) The European Union’s Latin America policy: a study of foreign policy change and coordination. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.qklxvbfajve3


This thesis explores the evolution of the European Union’s (EU) Latin America policy through an analysis of factors internal to the EU’s foreign policy decision-making system. Its policy towards the region has changed in important ways over time and appears to have come to be more and more incoherent. Adapting existing Foreign Policy Analysis frameworks to the specific context of the EU’s foreign policy, this thesis seeks to understand how factors of bureaucratic politics shape the EU’s foreign policy towards third actors. It is hypothesized that where an analytical perspective which evaluates the EU’s increased policy incoherence towards Latin America as the result of rational decision-making is not satisfactory, bureaucratic politics need to be considered instead. Under this perspective, the EU’s policy incoherence is influenced by policy inertia arising out of previous commitments, the divergence of views between different internal EU actors, the autonomy of these to take decisions without prior consultation or coordination with others, and lastly the complexity and duration of EU foreign policy decision-making processes themselves. This research framework is then applied empirically by analysing the EU’s negotiations for international agreements with partners in the Latin American region, and particularly those with regional organizations since the 1990s. This thesis finds that despite attempts to strengthen foreign policy coordination and coherence in the EU over time, the coherence of its Latin America policy has indeed been affected by bureaucratic politics arising out of factors such as changes to the internal organization of the European Commission or the disruption of established coordination mechanisms through the Treaty of Lisbon. The findings contribute to our understanding of the evolution of EU-Latin American relations, on-going debates on the study of interregionalism, as well as more generally to the literature on EU foreign policy-making.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2016 Daniel Dominik Schade
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Smith, Karen E.

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