GNATYUK N.N. International Political Actorness of the European Union: Evaluation Criteria


Gnatyuk Nikolay Nikolaevich

Candidate of Sciences (Politics), Associate Professor, Department of Political Science,

National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

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Skovorody St., 2, 04655 Kiev, Ukraine

Abstract. The European Union is a completely new international entity which is hard to evaluate using traditional criteria of political actorness. Its active international presence stimulates the modeling of international actor features beyond the scope of “state-international organization” scheme.

The concept of international actorness serves as a starting point for the development of appropriate analytical model. Unlike the traditional state-centered approaches which define an international actor through its affiliation witch the international system, this concept operates at the internal level of international entity and at the international structure level. Furthermore, both of these levels are treated as ontologically neutral and mutually constitutive.

This basic theoretical scheme is used for elaboration of evaluation criteria of political actorness. The proposed system of criteria is based on drawing, synthesizing and developing the main writings on “new international actors” since the times of classic work by Carol A. Cosgrove and Kenneth J. Twitchett. The key elements of actorness assessed in this article include defining of capacity to act on the global scene as well as the acceptance by other actors and by international system as a whole.

At the internal level, the EU’s actor capacity is measured by assessing its core elements ranging from core aspects, such as autonomy, authority, actor capability, coherence and cohesion to identity aspects. On the external level, the decisive criteria are recognition and acceptance by others which reflect expectations and perceptions of the EU.

The proposed approach of evaluating the international actorness enables us to consider the political activity of the EU on the basis of coordinated system of interaction between the variables of international and domestic levels of the analysis. Furthermore, this contributes to the development of cumulative, coherent, and comprehensive theory of international actorness.

Key words: actor of international relations, political actorness, international system, European Union, integrational structures.

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