Contestation and politicisation are two concepts of increasing relevance to European foreign and security policy (CFSP) scholars and practitioners alike. However, reasonable doubts can be raised as regards this growing literature: first, political conflict has always been part of CFSP, and national and European politics have traditionally been at the centre of research in this field. Second, exploring how the two concepts relate to European foreign, security and defence policies is complicated by the fact that foreign affairs more broadly do not meet all the criteria set by the literature on politicisation, which usually requires that some form of mass mobilisation takes place, or at least a high degree of salience. This article addresses these concerns by looking at the changing politics of CFSP. As the introduction to the special issue, we explore the hypothesis that contestation of European foreign, security and defence policy is now more in line with the broader way in which political conflict is being re-structured in Europe. If this is so, political conflict over CFSP will more easily be associated with issues that have an appeal beyond the narrow community of its practitioners and observers.
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