The UN and European Strategy

Authored by: Richard Gowan


Print publication date:  August  2012
Online publication date:  October  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415588287
eBook ISBN: 9780203098417
Adobe ISBN: 9781136226953


 Download Chapter



The relationship between the European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) has been the topic of copious quantities of public relations material from the two organizations, such as a joint campaign proclaiming their ‘partnership for a better world’, and a reasonable amount of serious analysis. 1 Of the various strategic goals laid down in the 2003 European Security Strategy, the call for ‘effective multilateralism’ with the UN at its core has proved particularly resonant among academics and policy analysts. This is in part a matter of grand strategy. For the think-tankers of the EU Institute for Security Studies, ‘making multilateral structures more effective and more legitimate is both a matter of principle and a question of interest for the EU’ (de Vasconcelos, 2010: 4). For scholars attempting to measure the EU’s global impact, the relationship with the UN is also appealingly quantifiable. The EU pays two-fifths of the UN’s peacekeeping costs and covers even higher percentages of its humanitarian and development budgets, while European diplomats hold well over 1,000 coordination meetings in New York alone each year (Wouters, 2007: 4). In some quarters, the level of EU unity within forums such as the UN General Assembly, which has gradually improved since the end of the Cold War, has become a virtual fetish – although this number-crunching has been challenged by authors who note unity does not always convert into impact (see for example Kissack, 2007: Gowan and Brantner, 2008; and Smith, 2010).

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.