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Shaping EU Foreign Policy Towards Russia

Improving Coherence in External Relations Philipp Thaler, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland
Offering a comprehensive and structured analysis of the reasons why the EU lacks external coherence towards Russia, this book presents important new insights to the topic beyond conventional institutionalist arguments. Philipp Thaler utilises key cases in external energy and human rights policies to highlight the on-going difficulties in creating a coherent position, despite the EU’s formally stated objective to achieve this.
Extent: c 256 pp
Hardback Price: $125.00 Web: $112.50
Publication Date: January 2020
ISBN: 978 1 78897 976 4
Availability: Not yet published
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  • eISBN: 978 1 78897 977 1

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  • Politics and Public Policy
  • European Politics and Policy
  • International Relations
Offering a comprehensive and structured analysis of the reasons why the EU lacks external coherence towards Russia, this book presents important new insights to the topic beyond conventional institutionalist arguments. Philipp Thaler utilises key cases in external energy and human rights policies to highlight the on-going difficulties in creating a coherent position, despite the EU’s formally stated objective to achieve this.

Providing new avenues to understanding the meaning of coherence, the book explores why this frequently used term is undefined and why it became a guiding principle in EU foreign policy. Thaler includes a thorough overview of how the EU’s institutional architecture and successive reforms have been designed to improve external coherence, and highlights elements that impede this aim. Placing the challenges in the EU–Russia relationship into their historical context, the book demonstrates that the quest for coherence is not a marginal normative claim, but practically incorporated into the EU’s foreign policy.

Timely and inquisitive, this is a critical read for European studies and international relations scholars. It will be particularly helpful for those focusing on energy governance and EU foreign policy.

‘The quest for coherence is perennial in EU foreign policy. Philipp Thaler gives this ambiguous concept the full analytical treatment providing a conceptually clear and empirically rich account of the EU’s Russia policy in the process. The book is recommended reading to anyone interested in understanding the problems in the EU’s common foreign and security policy better.’
– Hiski Haukkala, Tampere University, Finland
Contents: 1. Introduction: The EU’s quest for a more coherent Russia policy 2. A research framework to investigate external coherence 3. ‘Coherence matters’: why an undefined term became a guiding principle for EU foreign policy 4. How to coordinate the EU’s foreign policy towards Russia? External coherence within the policy setting 5. EU foreign policy and relations with Russia: the challenge to shape an unresponsive milieu 6. Acting coherently: the complex relationship of milieu and possession goals in the EU-Russia context 7. Conclusion: understanding external (in)coherence and future implications Index