Since a few months I am working on a new research project. I am looking at the international activity of the Western European countries during the Cold War era, focusing on their activity at the United Nations. According to the driving hypothesis, on many international issues differences between the EC members, the Nordic countries and other European countries were smaller than it is generally believed. On human rights, development, disarmament, Western Europeans shared many positions and developed a relatively coherent discourse. This Western European dimension has often been overlooked because of research choices focusing on a smaller group of countries, but it is worth reassessing it in order to better understand Europe’s role in the Cold War era and the roots of the EU’s Common foreign and security policy.
The project is expected to produce a few journal articles as a result:
- an analysis of the Western European voting beavior at the UN General Assembly, 1946-1990, based on a quantitative analysis of roll-call votes
- an analysis of the Western European activity in the UN Security Council, 1946-1990, looking beyond France and Britain
- an article reassessing the relative distance between the EC and the Nordic countries during the Cold War era, questioning Nordic exceptionalism
- a case study on the Western European stances and initiatives about apartheid in the 1970s and 1980s
In my PhD thesis, I traced the process of emergence and establishment of the European Community as a distinct international actor during the 1970s – to some extent, it is the story of the very roots of the EU’s common foreign and security policy. Especially during the 1970s, a number of remarkable achievements were realized, enabling the EC to shift from a loose coalition of states with century-old independent foreign policies to a group of countries acting in quite a cohesive way on the international scene. Most importantly, the EC as such was recognized as a distinct international actor by a great share of its counterparts. What I looked at in my thesis, were the reasons, the means and the goals of this process of assertion of the EC as such as an international actor, as well as its achievements and its failures. I took into consideration most of the international politics areas in which the EC was involved: transatlantic relations, relations with international organizations, major multilateral negotiations, development cooperation, promotion of human rights, reform of the international governance and of the international economic structure, and so on.