TEPSA and its Dutch member, the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael, The Hague, organized a roundtable conference on “‘Normative Power’ and External Policies – The European Union in a New Global Order” in Brussels on 6-7 May 2009.
The conference brought together representatives from the academic and the policy-making communities, combining a scholarly perspective, which discusses the concept of normative power in international relations theory and practice, with a policy-relevant perspective, which focuses on the (future) relevance of normative power in international relations, with a special emphasis on the EU.
The first panel entitled “The position of the European Union in a changing international system: Effective or symbolic ‘Normative Power’?” gave the theoretical, academic introduction to the conference debate. The key note speech was given by Ian Manners, Head of Research Unit on EU’s internal dynamics, Danish Institute for International Studies. Chaired by André Gerrits, Senior Research Fellow, Clingendael Institute, the commentators Lisbeth Aggestam, Teaching Fellow, University of Bath, and Asle Toje, Norwegian School of Management, Oslo, the session debated the diverging views and assessments of the role and relevance of the European Union in the current international order, with a special focus on the normative dimension of the Union’s policies and identity.
In the evening the dinner speaker Robert Cooper, Director-General for External and Politico-Military Affairs, General Secretariat of the Council of the EU, gave an introduction to a dinner debate on “The Changing Global Order and the Role of the European Union”.
Chaired by Jan Rood, Head of European Studies Programme, Clingendael Institute, the second panel changed the perspective and discussed “The European Union as an International Actor: The Perception of ‘Others’“ with presentations from China by Yiwei Wang, Associate Professor on leave of Fudan University, Scholar-in-residence at Chinese Mission to EU, from Russia by Tatiana Romanova, School of International Relations, St Petersburg State University, and from New Zealand by Martin Holland, Director, National Centre for Research on Europe, University of Canterbury.
A final panel, chaired by Gianni Bonvicini, Executive Vice President, Istituto Affari Internazionali, Rome, complemented the debate with the involvement of practitioners from the EU Institutions and NATO on the topic “The EU from Soft to Hard Power? Practical Implications”. Based on the introductions of the speakers Giovanni Grevi, Research Fellow, EU Institute for Security Studies, Paris, Richard Wright, Director in charge of Crisis Platform, Policy Coordination (CFSP), DG RELEX, European Commission, Mika-Markus Leinonen, Director of DG E9, Directorate Civilian Crisis Management, General Secretariat of the Council of the EU, Thierry Legendre, Policy Advisor at the Private Office of the Secretary General, Policy Planning Unit, NATO, the practical relevance and effectiveness of the EU’s normative power was discussed.