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Introduction into EU-UN relations

Welcome!

Introduction by Diana Panke, University of Freiburg
This webinar provides an introduction into the role of the European Union (EU) at the United Nations (UN) . To this end, we first focus on what regional & international Organizations are. In a second step, we shed light on the negotiation arena of interest in this elearning module: the United Nations as well as the European Union as an actor in this setting. The webinar ends with discussing the the formal roles the EU has at the UN and provides an overview of the prospects for EU coherency, activity and success at the UN.

  1. Introduction (Diana Panke)
  2. The EU and the International Labour Organization (ILO) (Robert Kissack)
  3. The EU and the UN Security Council (Edith Drieskens)
  4. EU-UN relations in the policy field ‚human rights‘ (Karen E. Smith)
  5. EU-UN relations in the policy field ‚environment’ (Tom Delreux)
  6. The EU performance in the UN (Spyros Blavoukos)
  7. The EU and the development of international law (Jan Wouters)
  8. The role of the EU delegation (Katie Laatikainen)  Coming soon!
  9. The EU and UN Peace Missions (Madeleine O. Hosli)



Initial questions
Before you watch the video of this introductory module, please make sure that you have a basic understanding of the EU and the UN system.

The following questions should give a good self-assessment of your current knowledge:
 
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When you are finished with the test and did not get the correct answers for more than 50% of the questions, we recommend that you do a bit of back-ground reading before continuing with this module.
 
Recommended resources include: 
and/or academic textbooks such as:
  • Wallace, H., Pollack, M. A. & Young, A. R. (Eds.) (2010) Policy-Making in the European Union, Oxford, Oxford University Press
  • Hill, C. & Smith, M. (Eds.) (2011) International Relations and the European Union, Oxford, Oxford  University Press.
  • Gareis, S. B. & Varwick, J. (2005) The United Nations. An Introduction, Houndmills, Palgrave.
  • Hurd, I. (2011) International Organizations. Politics, Law, Practice, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.





Video introduction by Diana Panke




Diana Panke holds the Chair in ‘Multi-Level Governance’ at University of Freiburg. Her research interests include international negotiations, multilateral diplomacy, international norms, institutional deign, comparative regionalism, small states in international affairs, European Union politics as well as compliance and legalization. In these fields, she has published five monographs and more than 30 journal articles (including EJIR, CPS, RIO, Cooperation and Conflict, JCMS, JEPP, WEP, JEP and International Politics).

Homepage: http://portal.uni-freiburg.de/politik/professuren/governance

After watching the video, please answer these advanced questions:
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Further readings
Diana Panke (2014) ‘The European Union in the United Nations. An Effective External Actor?’. In: Journal of European Public Policy. Vol. 21, No. 7, 1050-1066.


Abstract:
Although the EU has become an increasingly prominent actor on the international stage, only EU member states and not the EU itself formally enjoy full membership in most international organizations. In the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the EU only has observer status and its formal autonomy and authority are limited. On this basis one might expect that it lacks cohesiveness to turn into an effective external actor in UNGA negotiations. Nevertheless, the member states often develop common negotiation stances for UNGA resolutions. The paper argues that having a common position is essential, but not sufficient for the EU to turn into an effective external actor in international negotiations. In order to exert influence over UNGA resolutions the EU needs to adopt tied-hands strategies if EU member states' votes are crucial, or unbiased argumentative strategies in situations where passing resolutions do not require the support of EU members.

Diana Panke (2013) ‘Regional Power Revisited. How to Explain Differences in Coherency and Success of Regional Organizations in the United Nations General Assembly’. In: International Negotiation Journal. Vol. 18, No. 2, 265–291. 

Abstract:
The United Nations General Assembly is the International Organization (IO) with the broadest worldwide membership. While regional organizations are not members themselves, they can and often do become active through their own member states. This article addresses two questions: Do regional organizations differ in their ability to speak with one voice in IOs and, if so, why? Are some regional organizations more successful than others and, if so, why? Based on liberal theory and a mixed-methods approach, the research suggests, firstly, that regional organizations are in a better position to engage in collective action in IOs if they can develop group positions for a broad range of items. This is easier the greater the capacities and the stronger the incentives of the member states, the smaller the number of actors participating in regional organizations’ coordination meetings, and the more homogenous groups are. Secondly, regional organizations are especially successful in IOs if they have common positions that their experienced and knowledgeable member states can push via argumentative strategies and if regional organizations can rely on the larger membership when it comes to playing two-level games in UNGA negotiations (tied-hands strategy) and when it comes to voting in IOs. Further readings:

Diana Panke (2014) ‘Communicative Power Europe? How the EU Copes with Opposition in International Negotiations’. In: European Foreign Affairs Review, Vol. 19, No. 3, 357-372.

Abstract:
The European Union (EU) is becoming increasingly active in international negotiations, not the least because speaking with one voice is a chance for Member States to increase their leverage. Yet in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the EU is a comparatively small group which often faces opposition from considerably larger groups, most notably the G77 and the Non-Aligned Movement. Since the EU is smaller in size than its counterparts, being influential on the basis of voting alone is unlikely to work well. Thus, this article inductively examines how the EU can be turned into an effective communicative power that manages to influence UNGA resolutions. Most importantly, bypassing a larger opposition requires bilateral lobbying, whilst facing the opposing group en bloc in multilateral negotiations should be avoided. On this basis, even smaller groups can become effective communicative powers by disseminating novel arguments or making normative appeals.

Diana Panke (2014) ‘The UNGA – A Talking Shop? Exploring Rationales for the Repetition of Resolutions in Subsequent Negotiations’. In: Cambridge Review of International Affairs. Vol. 27, No. 3, 442-458.

Abstract:
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is frequently criticized as being an inefficient talking shop. Such criticism is partially due to the fact that UNGA resolutions are not legally binding, and partially due to the considerable share of resolutions that are debated repeatedly in multiple UNGA sessions. This article shows that more than half of the resolutions on the negotiation agenda of the UNGA in a given year are not novel, but have been discussed in the same arena in the past. As this increases the negotiation workload and also the capacity requirements of the member states, the widespread phenomenon of repetitions is puzzling. Therefore, the article examines the reasons behind reoccurring resolutions. It distinguishes between incrementalist and symbolic rationales and sheds light on the different motivations for repetitions in a series of case studies. This reveals that both rationales matter for repeating resolutions and that neither symbolic politics nor incrementalism are confined to specific types of issues or actors.