"The EU as a ‘normative power’: how can this be?"

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Page: 24

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Helene. Sjursen
conference paper description
This paper criticizes existing conceptions of the EU as a 'civilian’/’normative’/’civilizing’ power for lacking sufficient precision. Further, it argues that such conceptions are normatively biased. Implying that the EU is a ‘force for goodness’ they lack the necessary criteria and assessment standards to qualify or substantiate such conclusions. In order to rescue the argument of the EU as a ‘normative’ power the paper suggests that the core feature of a putative normative or civilizing power would be that it acts in order to transform the parameters of power politics through a focus on strengthening the international legal system. The paper concludes that from such a perspective there is a tension in the EU’s approach to international affairs.