GNATYUK N.N. International Political Actorness of the EU: the Dichotomy of Agent and Structure

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2015.1.8 

Gnatyuk Nikolay Nikolaevich

Candidate of Political Sciences, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science,

National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”

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Skovorody St., 2, 04655 Kyiv, Ukraine


Abstract. Theories of international relations, regional integration and comparative politics have significant difficulties with the classification of the EU as an actor of international politics. At the same time the EU international activities challenge not only the idea of superior role of the state in international relations but also the structure of international system. The article states that conceptualization of international actors should not contrast two levels of analyses – the internal condition of actor and the structure of international system, but treat them as being neutral.

Based on suggestions of pluralistic approach, the article argues that primary burden of progress in the classification of the EU as an actor of international politics is due to one way interpretation of “structure and agents problem”. In this regard the constructivist idea of treating actor and structure as mutually constructive may be a useful starting point. Unlike attempts to consider the international activities of the EU as “state like” entity, this approach allows taking into account the EU integrative nature, which is characterized by the presence of individual features of the traditional international actors. 

Therefore, the concept of international actorness as an alternative to state-centered approaches may offer a theoretical and methodological framework for the understanding of different elements and building-blocks of the “EU as an international actor”. Interaction of variables of internal and external levels composes a harmonized system for evaluating the EU international activity.

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

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