EU and South Caucasus

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<ul><li><p> 1 </p><p>Policy making in the periphery of the European Union: the </p><p>case of the South Caucasus </p><p>Licnia Simo </p><p>PhD Candidate, University of Coimbra, Portugal </p><p>Junior Researcher, NICPRI, University of Minho, Portugal </p><p>Teaching and Research Fellow, OSCE Academy Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan </p><p>liciniasimao@gmail.com </p><p> Paper to be presented at the ISAs 51st Annual Convention, New Orleans, US, </p><p>17-20 February 2010 </p><p>Work in progress / Draft. Do not quote or cite without authors express consent. </p><p>Comments are welcomed! </p><p>Introduction </p><p>Since the establishment of the European Unions (EU) Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), in </p><p>2003, institutional cooperation among state actors in the Wider European context has </p><p>deepened and widened. This has meant closer relations between the EU member states, </p><p>EU institutions and the states standing on the borders of the enlarged EU, in a growing </p><p>number of issues. One area where the ENP has been centrally active has been security, </p><p>not only due to the recognition of the increasing interdependence between security </p><p>inside the EU and outside its borders, in a context of enlargement and fast changing </p><p>security perceptions; but also due to the neighbours activism is engaging institutional </p><p>actors in Western Europe in their security concerns. This interplay of interests and </p><p>perceptions has reinforced the agency not only of EU institutions and member states, </p><p>but also of its neighbours, demanding a closer observation of the political processes </p><p>through which state actors define and pursue their foreign policy priorities. </p><p>This paper focuses on the role of the EU and its Neighbourhood Policy in the processes </p><p>of foreign policy formulation in the South Caucasus region. Since independence from </p><p>the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, these states have established independent foreign </p></li><li><p> 2 </p><p>policy relations, a process that demanded not only new assessments and skills but also </p><p>the affirmation of their sovereignty and the definition of their national interests in the </p><p>international arena. Interaction with important players such as the United States (US) </p><p>and the EU became a means of achieving these goals. As such, EU impact in these </p><p>states foreign policy formulation can be seen from the view point of its effect on agents </p><p>and structures. As the these states evolve from monolithic agents in the international </p><p>system, shaped by one-party politics and centralised economic planning, to multifaceted </p><p>actors, in which increasing numbers of domestic and international forces come to bear </p><p>pressure on, foreign policy becomes a complex affair. This paper focuses on the </p><p>potential for external actors to shape third actors preferences and decision making in </p><p>foreign policy. The argument is developed by analysing the interplay between the </p><p>increasing agency these states have acquired and the European structure with which </p><p>they directly interact. This work is therefore pertinent, not only to understand foreign </p><p>policy formulation outside the EU, but also to assess the levels of impact of the EU in </p><p>these processes.1 </p><p>The first section provides a theoretical background on foreign policy making, dealing </p><p>with the domestic and external dimensions and the agency-structure debate. A matrix of </p><p>analysis is put forward to integrate these four approaches to foreign policy analysis. The </p><p>second section, focuses on the foreign policy options of these states in a post-</p><p>communist context, looking at how each of the three regional states has pursued </p><p>different paths towards achieving their stated goals, as the interplay of the four </p><p>dimensions considered in the matrix explains. The following sections focus on the </p><p>Neighbourhood Policy of the EU and the changes in foreign policy discourse in these </p><p>three countries, by looking at how the EU has sought to shape these states foreign </p><p>policy, according to the matrix presented above. The outcome is a diffuse pattern of </p><p>influence both at the external and domestic as well as the agent and structure level, </p><p>indicating that the EU faces not only increased competition for influence in shaping </p><p>international structures and setting patterns of normative behaviour in the </p><p>neighbourhood, but also that domestic actors have become selectively permeable to </p><p> 1 It is acknowledged that the EU is not a monolithic actor, with several layers of actors and structures </p><p>influencing its foreign policy towards third actors. However, the EU has gained its own actorness </p><p>capabilities and often it also works as the meeting point between member states, institutions and </p><p>transnational actors, acting under the umbrella of European interests. </p></li><li><p> 3 </p><p>external actors influence, thus limiting their ability to democratise domestic </p><p>environments and consequently promote pluralism, a goal closely linked with a </p><p>normative approach to security. The article finishes with the conclusions. </p><p>1. External actors and foreign policy formulation: agency and structure in </p><p>perspective </p><p>Foreign policy analysis has dealt for long with the question of favouring agent or </p><p>structure-centred approaches to explain decision-making and foreign policy outcomes. </p><p>Hudson (2007: 8) has called this problematic a perennial philosophical conundrum </p><p>and a permanent feature of foreign policy, demanding an integrated approach to explain </p><p>foreign policy behaviour. Brighi and Hill (2008: 119) have suggested a strategic-</p><p>relational approach, focusing on the dialectic interplay between the actors own </p><p>strategy on the one hand, and context on the other hand. Context is seen by the authors </p><p>as different from structure: it is the other actors and the relations, which they entertain. </p><p>Such perspective favours a more relational approach, in which the context is not </p><p>deterministically given, but results from the interaction between actors choices and </p><p>actions and a given environment. From the constant interplay and feedback between </p><p>actors and context, foreign policy is formed and in turn feeds into this process changing </p><p>both the environment and the actors perceptions (Brighi and Hill, 2008: 120). </p><p>An approach that looks at the dynamic process of interaction between agents and </p><p>structure in foreign policy analysis is useful when looking at how external actors </p><p>influence foreign policy outcomes. How do the choices, perceptions and actions of one </p><p>international actor influence events, perceptions and outcomes in the foreign policy </p><p>behaviour of another actor? Structuralist approaches such as realism enhance the fact </p><p>that some actors are more powerful in the international system and therefore might </p><p>coerce and impose a course of action upon others. The focus on material power and </p><p>capabilities has been particularly visible in neo-realist analysis by authors such as Waltz </p><p>(1959) and Mearsheimer (1995). Realism thus favours a structural orientation, since at </p><p>the core lies the notion of state power, defined in terms of structure of the international </p><p>system or in a combination of domestic power resources and international structures </p><p>(Carlsnaes, 2008: 92). Agency-based approaches such as liberalism favour a bottom-up </p><p>view of the political system, [in which] individual and social groups are treated as prior </p></li><li><p> 4 </p><p>to politics, because they define their interests independently of politics and then pursue </p><p>these interests through political exchange and collective action (Carlsnaes, 2008: 95). </p><p>Moreover, and according to Moravcsik (1997), state preferences are set by a limited </p><p>number of actors, namely state officials, according to their interests, and depending on </p><p>the constrains imposed on state behaviour by interdependent preferences. </p><p>In an attempt to look at the process of mutual shaping between agents and structure in </p><p>the case of the foreign policy of South Caucasian states, the proposal of this article is to </p><p>focus on the way the EUs Neighbourhood Policy has shaped actors perceptions and </p><p>preferences and the context within which they act. Moreover, there is an </p><p>acknowledgement that foreign policy is a two-level game (Putnam, 1988), where </p><p>domestic and international context and actors interact. As Hill (2003: 38) argues, the </p><p>domestic and the foreign are two ends of a continuum, and foreign policy analysis is not </p><p>complete if an account of the domestic is not included. The EU is particularly well </p><p>positioned to illustrate this overlap between domestic and external issues, in its foreign </p><p>policies. As Ruggie (1993: 172) has argued, the European Commission can be </p><p>conceived of as a multiperspectival institutional form, where territoriality is </p><p>questioned, both as source of legitimacy and identity. Distinctions between domestic </p><p>and international dynamics become fundamentally blurred and agents and structures </p><p>become increasingly interdependent. The EU has also been a purposeful exporter of its </p><p>norms and governance models to regions outside the Union (Christiansen, et al., 2000; </p><p>Lavenex, 2004), increasingly linking the states and peoples standing outside the EU to </p><p>the developments occurring inside it. </p><p>The EU stands as an important international actor both on its own and through its </p><p>member states. It shapes the international context on several levels, namely through </p><p>organisations such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the United Nations or the </p><p>International Monetary Fund (IMF). These sources of power and influence are </p><p>particularly relevant if the focus shifts from hard power to soft power, to include issues </p><p>such as trade, ideas and norms. Whitman (2006: 105) argues that the decisive criterion </p><p>for distinction [of the EU and European international society] rather is the degree of </p><p>identification and of the acceptance of being bound by the rules and norms of the </p><p>respective international society. Then, if we recognise that the EU has established itself </p></li><li><p> 5 </p><p>as a normative model for others, its ability to shape the international context </p><p>exponentially increases as third actors take EU rules and norms as their own. </p><p>These processes of both contamination by transfer and contention by shaping, </p><p>however, are not automatic, meaning that agents involved in foreign policy exercise </p><p>their preferences and mediate processes, affecting outcome. Bureaucracies in Brussels </p><p>horse-trade extensively, searching for consensus to advance EU decision making, </p><p>resembling the illustrations provided by Graham Allisons Bureaucratic Politics theory </p><p>(Allison, 1971). EU foreign policy making has still to overcome, not only the famous </p><p>capabilities-expectation gap (Hill, 1993), but also a consensus-expectation gap (Toje, </p><p>2008). Therefore, EU impact on other actors is largely dependent on how actors inside </p><p>the EU manage power relations, how they are socialised and socialise each other and </p><p>how institutions evolve. Kelley (2006: 32) illustrates these dynamics by looking at how </p><p>the ENP built on previous enlargement experiences and how actors inside the European </p><p>Commission structures adapted to assure survival. </p><p>In keeping with the logic of dynamic interaction between agents and structures in the </p><p>process of foreign policy making, it is necessary to notice that EU transfers towards the </p><p>neighbours are by no means unidirectional. Adoption of EU rules, as has been argued </p><p>by other authors, can happen through socialisation processes, but also through rational </p><p>choice and a cost-benefit analysis (Schimmelfennig, 2001; Sedelmeier, 2006), implying </p><p>that the receiving end also plays an important role in this interaction. I would suggest </p><p>the notion of selective permeability to rules and norms coming from the EU, </p><p>evidenced during the negotiation of the ENP action plans, between the European </p><p>Commission and the Foreign Ministries of the ENP countries. Georgia, for instance, </p><p>was particularly successful in promoting a selective convergence with the EU (Vieira </p><p>and Simo, 2008). A final note must also be made to the increasing competition for </p><p>influence over the contexts within which agents make their decisions. Particularly in the </p><p>former-Soviet space, the EU has increasingly faced the open competition of Russia, in </p><p>setting up the institutional and normative frameworks for interaction. </p><p>Thus, EU impact on the external actors foreign policy choices can be conceived of as a </p><p>matrix, affecting both the external (international society) and the domestic structures </p><p>(governance export) and both domestic (selective permeability) and external agents () of </p></li><li><p> 6 </p><p>foreign policy formulation. The table below illustrates the spectrum of approaches </p><p>through which foreign policy can be influenced. Overall, four major trends have been </p><p>identified, depending on the point of entry. If favouring an external dimension one can </p><p>affect outcome by dealing with agents (point A) or by shaping the structure of </p><p>interaction (point B). If one decides to influence the domestic level, the same process </p><p>can be conceived, focusing on agents (point C) or on structures (point D). Naturally, </p><p>most actors attempting to influence other actors foreign policy-making will attempt to </p><p>act on all four points simultaneously, although the constraints to achieve high quality </p><p>results in all fronts are high. </p><p>Table 1. Points of entry in foreign policy shaping. </p><p>A Agent-centred domestic view B Agent-centred external view </p><p>C Domestic structuralist view D External structuralist view </p><p>According to this model, four major variants to shaping third actors foreign policy can </p><p>be conceived: an agent-centred domestic view (A), an agent-centred external view </p><p>(B), a domestic structuralist view (C) and an external structuralist view (D). An </p><p>agent-centred domestic perspective looks at how external actors reinforce agency at the </p><p>Agency </p><p>Domestic External </p><p>Structure </p><p> A </p><p> B </p><p> C </p><p> D </p></li><li><p> 7 </p><p>domestic level. As we have seen, states are far from monolithic elements and a growing </p><p>number of actors are shaping policy making, including in foreign policy. Such a variety </p><p>of domestic agents opens the possibility for third actors to influence foreign policy from </p><p>within. An agent-centred external view, on the other hand, favours the reinforcement of </p><p>external agency, including International Organisations, transnational corporations and </p><p>international non-governmental organisations. Agents working at this level often have </p><p>to deal with all the remaining dimensions, making their actions highly unpredictable. </p><p>The domestic structuralist view favours a focus on the structural level within each state. </p><p>These include issues such as changing the political systems, the constitutions and the </p><p>domestic contexts, within which agency is exercised. We can include at this level </p><p>democracy promotion policies, as well as legislative reforms supporting freedom of </p><p>speech and human rights. The goal of such policies is often to empower domestic </p><p>agents, beyond the state, increasing their impact on policy making, and therefore closely </p><p>linked to the agent-centred domestic perspective. The e...</p></li></ul>