Applying Europeanization to Foreign Policies. How europeanized is the Greek foreign policy?

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2017

21 Pages, Grade: 1,3


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. The concept of Europeanization
2.1. Processes and mechanisms
2.2. The Europeanization of foreign policies

3. The example of Greek Foreign Policy

4. Conclusion

5. Appendix

6. Bibliography

1. Introduction

To be a member state of the European Union generally means to be subject to diverse organizational, structural and managerial challenges, as "[a]ction must be coordinated at and at least between two levels, the domestic and the European. [...] As a result, governmentsfmd themselves subject to varying, often contradictory, demands.1 ” As Kassim (2003) says, Brussels decisions have significant impacts on EU member states. Therefore "getting things right” can be rewarding, the consequences of "getting things wrong" can be severe.

One of those challenges is the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). Today, the CFSP, conceived in the 1970s and legally established in 1993, has increasingly become a more integral part of the European Union (EU)2. Some scholars even argue that "Europe’s relevance" and its ability to exercise influence "in world affairs increasingly depends on its ability to speak and act as one3 ".

Both, the European Union and its member states are interested in "getting things right" with the CFSP. It is hence reasonable to assume that both the EU and member states have in some ways adapted to the challenge of Common Foreign and Security Policy making for example with a harmonization and communitization of foreign policies.

With respect to the Iranian nuclear deal, Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, the middle-east conflict, China’s rising power and the US-President, which in the words of Jean-Claude Juncker "pose risks for the relationship between the European Union and the United States"4, the CFSP nowadays seems more relevant than ever for the European Union. So now, with the Common Foreign and Security Policy gaining general importance, it is a good time to examine how member states have adapted to the challenges of EU membership in concerns of foreign policies over time.

With this paper I want to take part in the discussion of how EU member states foreign policy has adapted (as a dependent variable) to the requirements of European Community / Union membership (as an independent variable) and Common Foreign and Security Policy making. I will concentrate on the national level adaptations in the foreign policy field using the example of Greece. As a concept, I will use the framework of Europeanization to examine to what extent the Greek foreign policy has been europeanised. So the research question I seek to answer in this paper is:

Q: To what extent is the Greek foreign policy europeanised?

Greece is an worthwhile example to examine. The Greek Turkey/Cyprus conflict there provides an interesting and ideal case to study the Europeanization of foreign policy.

The history of Greece’s membership in the European Union has been somewhat patchy. When Greece applied to join the European Community (EC) in 1975, shortly after coming back from a period of dictatorship, existing EC member states had huge reservations about the prospect of Greek membership. Not only did they fear migrant flows and the Greek administration not being capable of processing all the requirements of EC membership, existing member states also feared being dragged into Greece’s ongoing conflict with Turkey5.

And when Greece finally joined the European Community in 1981, it was a unique case. Greece had been struggling economically and at the time had no shared borders with any other member state. Additionally, because of its inertia within the European framework6, as Economides (2005) says, Greece was for a time seen as the "black sheep of the European Union”. However, beginning in the mid-nineties things have begun to change. Since then, Greece has become a role model for other south-european countries joining the European Community and since the turn of the milennium has changed its image from being a special case in the European Union to being a fully respected, reliable and constructive member of the European Union and the NATO. I therefore think that Greece has a widely europeanised foreign policy.

H: Greece ’s foreign policy is, to a large extent, europeanized.

Essential for answering the research question is an understanding of what "being europeanized” means. So, I will first shortly outline the key assertions of Europeanization (S1). I will then apply the insights gained by Europeanization to the area of foreign policy by showing which ways national foreign policy adapts to Europeanization (S2). Lastly, I will provide evidence for the extent of adaptation, that Greek foreign policy has undergone due to European Community / Union membership (S3).

Important note: There is no consensus in the academic sphere about the correct spelling of "Europeanization" as both versions "Europeanisation" and "Europeanization" exist. Throughout this paper I will stick to "Europeanization" as proposed by the Oxford Dictionary.

2. The concept of Europeanization

(S1) In this part of my paper I seek to answer the questions: How does the concept of Europeanization explain national adaptation to EU membership in general and how does it apply to foreign policy?

I will also break down the term "Europeanization" and work out its essential mechanisms and processes. This is important for answering the overall research question, because it is important to broadly comprehend why and how Europeanization occurs in order to understand how Europeanized Greece’s foreign policy is.

2.1. Processes and mechanisms

It is important to note that the term "Europeanization" has not been exclusively used in political science but in many different academic disciplines and contexts such as culture and history7. It is therefore essential to distinguish between the different meanings of Europeanization.

This paper does not refer to Europeanization in a historical sense as "processes resulting in the development of a common European culture" or "the Europeanization of overseas colonial possessions8 ", as it is used by Wolfgang Schmale and other historians. Nor does it refer to Europeanization in a cultural way as "the emergence of a ‘European identity’"9.

In this paper I am going to use Europeanization as a term that denotes

a) the bottom-up processes in which member states shape the European Union, its institutions and policies, and

b) the top-down-processes in which the European Union shapes its member states’ intstitutions and policies.

The amount of literature concerning Europeanization has grown tremendously. Still, Europeanization does not have a common definition but is rather still an analytical framework10. Giving an overview of the variety of definitions is beyond the scope of this paper. Hence, I will rather describe the general mechanisms and processes of Europeanization.

In their article "Conceptualizing the Domestic Impact of Europe." Börzel and Risse describe the conditions under which national adaptation is likely11. The necessary condition for domestic change is a certain level of "misfit”, a difference of any kind between national policies, politics and/or policies and European level policies, politics and/or policies. Here applies: the bigger the "misfit", the bigger the adaptational pressure. But the misfits between policies, politics and polities are a necessary yet not sufficient condition for domestic change. Börzel and Risse worked out two different mechanisms that convert adaptational pressure into national adaptation. Both rely on national actors as "facilitating factors" for domestic change12:

On the one hand, strategic actors can actively exploit "windows of opportunities" opened by misfits between the national and the European level. These rational actors are "using their resources to maximize their utilities on the basis of given, fixed and ordered preferences"13 and take advantage of misfits between the European and the national level.

On the other hand, and far more important, national actors follow social expectations, rules and norms. Here, "Europeanization is understood as the emergence of new rules, norms, practices, and structures of meaning to which member states are exposed and which they have to incorporate into their domestic practices and structures"14. This form of Europeanization happens due to socialization or social learning.

[Figure 1]

2.2. The Europeanization of foreign policy

(S2) As presented above, Europeanization describes how EU membership influences its member states and how it drives domestic change. This has been a rather general exposition of its mechanisms and processes. After having clarified the general term, of Europeanization, in this part of the paper I will specifically present what Europeanization indicates for national foreign policy. Doing so will allow the construction of various hypotheses about what changes one would expect to see in a fully europeanized Greek foreign policy.

This is important to be able to answer the main research question as it establishes objective criteria that can be reviewed to check whether the Greek foreign policy is to a large extend europeanized.

According to Bulmer and Radaelli, it is important to regard foreign policy as a special field within Europeanization as there is no "clear, vertical chain-of-command, in which EU policy descends from Brussels into the Member States”15. Therefore the Europeanization of national foreign policy is more indirect and more selective than in other policy fields.

In their paper "Applying the Concept of Europeanization to the Study of foreign policy” Alecu de Flers and Müller (2009) propose the mechanisms of "policy download”, refering to the top-down processes of Europeanization, where member states align with pre-established european policies, and a "policy uploading” referring to the bottom-up processes16.

They define the download dimension, or the adaptation of foreign policy "as the adjustment of national foreign policies - in terms of substance, objectives and policy-making style - to common EU positions and ‘ways of doing things’.”17


1 From: Kassim, Hussein: Meeting the demands of EU membership. In: Featherstone, Kevin; Radaelli, Claudio M. (2003):The politics of Europeanization. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, p. 84.

2 Auswärtiges Amt (2015): Gemeinsame Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik (GASP), 09.06.2015.

3 Mix, Derek E. (2013): The European Union: Foreign and Security Policy, 08.04.2013. United States Congress. Congressional Research Service.

4 Juncker, Jean-Claude (2016): Donald Trump risks upsetting EU-US ties, says commission chief: The Guardian.

5 Rankin, Jennifer (2015): Greece in Europe: a short history. In: The Guardian, 03.07.2015. Online:, last checked 26.09.2017.

6 Economides, Spyros (2005): The Europeanisation of Greek Foreign Policy. In: West European Politics 28 (2), S. 471-491.

7 Sittermann, Birgit (2006): Europeanization. A Step Forward in Understanding Europe?: Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster.

8 From: Schmale, Wolfgang: Processes of Europeanization, in: European History Online (EGO. Institute of European History (IEG). Mainz. 03.12.2010.

9 Delanty, Gerard (2005): The Idea of a Cosmopolitan Europe. On the Cultural Significance of Europeanization. In: International Review ofSociology 15 (3), p. 405-421

10 Sittermann, Birgit (2006): Europeanization. A Step Forward in Understanding Europe?: Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster.

11 Börzel, Tanja A.; Risse, Thomas (2002): When Europe Hits Home. Europeanization and Domestic Change. In: SSRN Journal.

12 Börzel, Tanja A.; Risse, Thomas (2009): Conceptualizing the Domestic Impact of Europe. In: Kevin Featherstone (Hg.): The politics of Europeanization. Reprinted. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, S. 57-80.

13 From: Ibid., p. 64.

14 From: Börzel, Tanja A.; Risse, Thomas (2009): Conceptualizing the Domestic Impact of Europe. In: Kevin Featherstone (Hg.): The politics ofEuropeanization. Reprinted. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, p. 67.

15 From: Bulmer, Simon; Radaelli, Claudio M. (2004): The Europeanisation of National Policy? In: Queen's Papers on Europeanisation (1/2004).

16 Alecu de Fiers, Nicole; Müller, Patrick (2009): Applying the Concept of Europeanization to the Study of foreign policy: Dimesnions and Mechanisms. Working paper 05/2009: Institute for European Integration Research - Vienna

17 From: Alecu de Fiers, Nicole; Müller, Patrick (2009): Applying the Concept of Europeanization to the Study of foreign policy: Dimesnions and Mechanisms. Working paper 05/2009: Institute for European Integration Research - Vienna, p.17.

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Applying Europeanization to Foreign Policies. How europeanized is the Greek foreign policy?
Free University of Berlin  (Otto-Suhr-Institut für Politikwissenschaft)
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Jan Onno Steenweg (Author), 2017, Applying Europeanization to Foreign Policies. How europeanized is the Greek foreign policy?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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