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The EU and the Global Order: Contingent Liberalism


Politicians, diplomats and analysts commonly assume that commitment to multilateralism and liberal norms is part of the EU’s very DNA. Increasingly, however, the EU’s commitment to the liberal global order is more selective. We demonstrate the shift to a more contingent liberalism by examining the EU’s recent record in relation to four different challenges: international trade; US leadership; Russian actions in the eastern neighbourhood; and security in the Middle East. We speculate on what this may portend for the EU’s self-identity, European interests and the integrity of the prevailing global order.
Keywords: EU foreign policy, EU trade policy, European security, liberal order, global governance