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Normative Power is in the Eye of the Beholder: An Empirical Assessment of Perceptions of EU Identity at the WTO

Listed author(s):
  • De Zutter, Elisabeth


    (Department of Political Science, Maastricht University)

  • Toro, Francisco



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    The concept "normative power" is developed to grasp the EU's identity, role and concomittant practice in world politics. The EU's ability to define the normal in world politics' depends on others' perceptions of it and its external practice. Normative power requires that non-EU states perceive the EU as embodying the norms it espouses, to perceive those norms as attractive for emulation, and to perceive EU action to be norm-driven (as opposed to interest-driven), and based on universally valid norms. To assess non-EU state elites' perceptions of EU identity, we conduct a series of interviews with WTO negotiators and former negotiators with experience of negotiating with the EU. We find that, while third country elites do perceive the EU as embodying the norms central to its identity and, to some extent, see those norms as attractive for emulation, they do not perceive EU action as distinct and predominantly norm-driven or based on universal norms. Our research qualifies the understanding of the EU as normative power.

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    Paper provided by United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) in its series MERIT Working Papers with number 074.

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    Date of creation: 2008
    Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2008074
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    1. Thomas H.W. ZIESEMER, 2012. "Worker remittances and government behaviour in the receiving countries," Eastern Journal of European Studies, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 3, pages 37-59, December.
    2. Wang, Lili & Szirmai, Adam, 2008. "Regional Capital Inputs in Chinese Industry and Manufacturing, 1978-2003," MERIT Working Papers 028, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    3. Michelle Pace, 2007. "The Construction of EU Normative Power," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45, pages 1041-1064, December.
    4. Sibylle Scheipers & Daniela Sicurelli, 2007. "Normative Power Europe: A Credible Utopia?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45, pages 435-457, 06.
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