This article argues that a key to the influence of the EU in foreign policy is its consistent basis for the latter in terms of the legitmacy of human rights in current international affairs. Humanrights norms today carry both normative power in a public discourse on foreign policy, and they are embedded in legal regimes in and around the UN system. The EU's post-national foreign policy is based on these norms, as expressed in the Copenhagen criteria of admission:Human rights, democracy, rule of law and the market economy. This article explores the relationship between legitimacy and legality in this type of foreign policy, arguing that the EU can develop into the major post-national foreign policy actor with its normative basis.
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