Theoretical Perspectives for the EU Presence in the UN Institutional Structure

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    • Presentation speakers
      • Julija Brsakoska Bazerkoska, Cologne University, Germany and Law Faculty in Skopje, Macedonia


    The European Union has its own specific approach towards multilateralism. It seeks to pool sovereignty and create a common foreign policy in many policy arenas. The EU has the potential to be an important power in shaping global events. However, the EU has exploited this potential more in the economic sphere than in the political and security spheres. Through the Common Commercial Policy the EU has used its power to promote global free trade and promote itself as the world’s largest trader. On the other hand, the EU has been less capable of speaking with a single and reliable voice on global political and security issues. The need for the EU presence in the UN institutional structure can be explained by a range of theoretical perspectives. Although the EU – UN relations have many variables, the crucial questions that are often posed are: when and why do Member States decide to act together in the UN?; and, which are the factors that determine the willingness of the EU to work through and with the UN? The paper will tend to explain different theoretical approaches towards those questions. According to the authors with the realist approach towards international relations, the EU member states coordinate their policies in the United Nations when it allows them to better defend their interests rather than acting alone. Therefore, the EU positions in the UN are largely influenced by the Member States’ interests and they reflect the compromises found among them. The institutionalists as well as constructivists, see the EU positions at the UN as a compromise between the interests of the Member States, but argue that the possibility of such compromise might be higher within the European Union than in other coalitions of states that are much looser. The paper will argue that there is no constantly superior theory, when explaining the EU-UN relations. Instead, different theoretical models explain the European Union’s engagement in different issues at the UN. The security dimension of the EU-UN relations is best explained by the realist theory. On the other hand, the EU approach towards the issues that don’t challenge its security policy (such as the issues connected with the climate change, as well as the human rights issues) are better explained through reference to the European Union’s natural attachment to international law.