The liberal, norms-based international order is being challenged by two contradicting trends: the rise of power politics and geopolitical conflicts, on the one hand, and the diffusion of power and increased importance of networks, on the other. This paper explores how increased connectivity is shaping the agenda and practice of EU foreign policy and re-defining the traditional tensions between realist and liberal approaches to global politics. It argues that the EU should develop foreign policy strategies that utilise networks as an asset against power politics, looking at two examples of how a network-based approach can help the EU to defend its values and interests: networks for resilience against hybrid threats, and networks for supporting Ukraine. These cases shed light on how the concept of networks can contribute to the EU’s strategy in today’s fluid global politics and unstable regional security environment.
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