International Politics

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 177–195 | Cite as

The European Union and the Libyan crisis

  • Sergio Fabbrini
Original Article


This article investigates the European Union (EU)’s answer to the Libya crisis of 2011 to show the unresolved dilemmas of an intergovernmental approach to foreign and defence policies. The Lisbon Treaty has institutionalized a dual constitution or decision-making regime: supranational for the policies of the single market, and intergovernmental for the policies traditionally at the core of national sovereignty, such as foreign and defence policies. In the most significant test for the EU foreign and defence policies in the post-Lisbon era, the intergovernmental approach generated unsatisfactory outcomes because it was unable to solve structural and institutional problems of collective action. Without revising the intergovernmental constitution, it will be difficult for the EU as an actor to play a role in international politics in the future.


EU Libya Lisbon Treaty sovereignty intergovernmental constitution 



I thank Mariagiulia Amadio Viceré for her research assistance. A first version of this article was presented at the EUSA Conference, Baltimore, 10 May 2013, where it was fruitfully discussed by Stephanie Anderson.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sergio Fabbrini
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Government, Political Sciences and International RelationsRomaItaly

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