Loughborough University
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Practice and performance: EU diplomacy in Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus after the inauguration of the European External Action Service, 2010–2015

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posted on 2018-06-21, 10:42 authored by Dorina Baltag
The aim of this thesis is to critically assess the diplomatic performance of the European Union (EU) in its neighbourhood, namely in Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus after the inauguration of the European External Action Service (EEAS). The Lisbon Treaty announced the need for a stronger, more efficient, more coherent EU in world politics. This implied, inter alia, that in third countries, the former Commission representations have been transformed into Union Delegations that represent the EU. Besides this, the Treaty changes opened an opportunity for coordination between national and EU level diplomacy in order to obtain a more effective collective effort. These changes where focused on EU s overall performance, which has been a salient issue on the agenda of European policy-makers. The issue of the EU s performance in the wider Eastern Europe remains poignant, not least because of current developments in its neighbourhood (such as the crisis in Ukraine, Moldova s downturn in its democratization efforts or the inclusion of Belarus on the list of most repressive countries in the world). While the Brussels-based part of the EEAS has captured the attention of both academic and non-academic literature, this thesis turns its focus to the performance and diplomatic practice of the EU in third countries, i.e Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus. When talking about European diplomatic performance abroad, a key focus in the thesis is on practices through which the details of everyday practices that form and shape the performance of any actor is explored. In order to do so, the investigation conducted for this research is guided by three assumptions on the use of EU diplomacy in overcoming its foreign policy dilemmas. Looking at performance, then, implies examining EU diplomatic practices against pre-set goals; evaluating the cooperation between member-states (MS) embassies and Union Delegations towards formulating and implementing a common approach ; and, conducting a screening of diplomatic capabilities on the ground. Findings show that the EU delegations represent the EU as a whole, became communication hubs on the ground and took the lead on cooperation with the EU MS embassies. Empirical evidence revealed that, in practice, the Delegations continued to conduct aid-driven diplomacy, as a legacy from the former Commission representations. And, that the coexistence of national and EU diplomacy was marked, at times, by MS opting out of the common approach in favour of parallel actions. While the Delegations in these countries have grown in size and, most importantly, have diplomats as staff members; the development of the Delegations also came with an intra- and inter-institutional tension on the ground that echoed Brussels institutional dynamics. Lastly, a comparative evaluation of EU diplomatic performance in Eastern Europe more generally uncovered multistakeholder diplomacy, burden-sharing, bloc diplomacy, unilateral diplomatic actions and interest-driven diplomacy as key drivers and dividers in EU s attempt to address its foreign policy dilemmas.



  • Social Sciences


  • Politics and International Studies


© Dorina Baltag

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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