Impact of the Agent’s Environment on Discretion in the Field of EU Conflict Resolution

Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics book series (PSEUP)


Employing an agent–principal perspective on EU conflict resolution and focusing on the politics of discretion, we argue that the context in which the agent acts affects the principal–agent relation. Our conceptualization draws on the agent’s actions as a source of discretion, which can be either an unintentional product of the characteristics of the external environment in which the agent performs (structure-induced discretion) or a product of intentionally pursued agent action (interest-induced discretion). Focusing particularly on the European External Action Service, we find that the agent can exploit urgency and third party interplay as characteristics of EU conflict resolution in order to increase his discretion. This has led to an agent that has increasingly sought to further its interests and accumulate powers that affect discretion.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Johannes Gutenberg University of MainzMainzGermany

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