One of the important questions in identifying the rationale behind European Union action as ‘a global player’ is: what drives EU Foreign Policy? This is a complex question because EU Foreign Policy is an area where the EU acts on an intergovernmental basis, but which is also affected by policy areas such as Trade, External Relations, Energy, Migration and Asylum, Agriculture, Fisheries, Development Assistance and Humanitarian Aid, where the EU acts at EU level.

Some of the complexities are referred to in our publication Peace and Peacebuilding (PDF – 5.5 MB).

QCEA has researched a number of different aspects of these questions and has published several papers.

Neutrality in the European Union – what does it mean in practice?

QCEA was invited to participate in a conference co-hosted by the Irish School of Ecumenics and Dublin Monthly Meeting (Quaker) Peace Committee in May 2009. Our contribution to this debate (PDF – 1.4 MB) was published as part of the conference report.

Security and the Common Good (2010)

In 2010, QCEA focused on a comparative analysis of the European Security Strategy (2003 and its review in 2008) and the security strategy documents of the 27 Member States. This analysis sought to identify common threads and contradictions and to assess the extent to which the strategies are focused towards peacebuilding and the global common good.

The resulting paper was presented at the AGM of Church and Peace in June 2010 and can be downloaded here (PDF – 216 KB).

Foreign Policy in the News (2012)

The paper starts from the premise that our perception of foreign places is shaped – at least in part – by the news stories we read in the press. This is not to say that other media do not influence our perceptions, nor is it to undervalue personal experience of going to foreign places and meeting people there.

Of course, printed news media are maybe not the most influential media anymore but they are read by decision-makers and their advisors and they are read by the people who vote for them. They therefore are, potentially at least, in a position to shape our perceptions and thus influence how we see the world.

We undertook detailed research of 23 daily broadsheet papers in 9 EU Member States in 2009 and 2010. Read our findings and  conclusions here (pdf – 232 KB)