The EU’s Commitment to Effective Multilateralism in the Field of Security: Theory and Practice

Publication Language: 
Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies
Working Paper Type: 

The present contribution aims to clarify the extent of the EU’s commitment to effective multilateralism. To this effect, the first two sections analyse the concepts ‘multilateralism’ and ‘effectiveness’, respectively, on the basis of a critical review of existing theoretical dissertations on the subjects. Subsequently, the notion of effective multilateralism as conceptualised in abstracto in the policy documents of the EU will be clarified. We will then assess the actual level of the EU’s commitment to effective multilateralism in its foreign policy by drawing from the recent developments in the field of security, focusing on some of the key threats identified in the 2003 ESS. This will allow us, finally, critically to determine whether the notion of effectiveness as wielded by the EU today corresponds to what is commonly understood by the concept or if it is, rather, a political concept that carries an entirely different meaning.