Of insiders and outsiders: assessing EU strategic partnerships in their regional context
Through their designation as strategic partners the EU has given its ties with numerous third countries a special status in its external relations. While the term provides for rhetorical ambition to structure the EU’s ties with these actors the concept has never been clearly defined. The article attempts to analyse the choice and practice of the EU’s strategic partnerships in their regional context through a comparative analysis of the EU’s ties with its two strategic partners in Latin America, Brazil and Mexico, as well as those with other countries in the region. It then argues that through the rhetorical choice of the partners artificial ingroups and outgroups are created, with some outsiders enjoying closer ties to the EU than one of its strategic partners. This mismatch between the strategic partnerships and practiced external relations put the concept’s overall contribution to the structuring of the EU’s external relations into question.
KeywordsEuropean Union foreign policy Strategic partnerships Grand strategy Latin America Labelling
I would like to thank the editors of this special issue for bringing this project to fruition. I am immensely grateful for the comments by two anonymous reviewers and the constructive feedback received at the EWIS workshop on geopolitics and strategic thinking in EU foreign policy in Tübingen.
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