The Foreign Policy of the European Union (Third Edition)


The Foreign Policy of the European Union demonstrates the scope and diversity of the European Union’s foreign policy, showing that EU foreign policy is broader than the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy, and that areas such as trade, development, environment and energy are inextricable elements of it.

This book offers a comprehensive and critical account of the EU’s key foreign relations – with its neighbourhood, with the US, China and Russia, and with emerged powers – and argues that the EU’s foreign policy needs to be understood not only as a response to crises and conflicts, but also as a means of shaping international structures and influencing long-term processes.

This third edition reflects recent changes and trends in EU foreign policy as well as the international context in which it operates, addressing issues such as the increasingly contested international order, the conflict in Ukraine, the migration and refugee crisis, Brexit and Covid-19. The book not only clarifies the formal procedures in EU foreign policy-making but also elucidates how it works in practice. The third edition includes new sections and boxes on ‘strategic autonomy’, European arms exports, the EU’s external representation, the ‘Brussels Effect’, and decentring and gender approaches to EU foreign policy.

Up to date, jargon-free and supported by its own website (, this systematic and innovative appraisal of this key policy area is suitable for undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as practitioners.

‘A very well-written textbook covering all the core themes, concepts and developments in EU foreign policy. It provides expert analysis of the latest literature and is effectively structured to tackle the complex and multifaceted character of EU external relations.’ — Sophie Vanhoonacker, Maastricht University, The Netherlands

‘The book provides a thorough and concise overview of the EU’s institutional foreign policy apparatus, and of its various foreign policies, taking into account national and European actors, as well as the changing international environment in which the EU finds itself in. Theoretical extensions of the actual developments are contained throughout, as well as facts and figures that help to more clearly demonstrate the impact of the EU’s foreign policy in the world.’ — Markus Thiel, Florida International University, USA

‘An up-to-date and comprehensive assessment of European Union foreign policy motivations, institutions and practices. Keukeleire and Delreux have managed once again in this third edition to deliver a timely pedagogical tool for students and teachers of EU external relations alike.’ — Toni Haastrup, University of Stirling, UK

‘Keukeleire and Delreux have produced a comprehensive and state-of-the-art treatment of EU foreign policy. It is a tour-de-force of how a textbook should be written and structured on EU foreign policy. The key institutions, policies, theoretical debates, and the way forward for EU studies and security are all analysed in an expert way. The scholarship is first rate and the accessible pedagogy is excellent.’ — Neil Winn, University of Leeds, UK

‘Keukeleire and Delreux have prepared, once again, an outstanding introduction to EU foreign policy, for anyone trying to understand its complexity. An exceptional textbook, which will continue to be used by lecturers and students widely.’ — Michal Onderco, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

‘The authors continue to set the benchmark for excellence in textbooks on EU foreign policy. This new edition provides a comprehensive, authoritative and accessible introduction to the development of the EU as a foreign policy actor. It will be of essential use for anyone looking to further investigate the key issues and debates surrounding this important topic.’ — Graham Timmins, University of Birmingham, UK


1. The Nature of EU Foreign Policy
2. European Integration and Foreign Policy: Historical Overview
3. The EU’s Foreign Policy System: Actors
4. The EU’s Foreign Policy System: Policy-making
5. Human Rights, Democracy, Security and Other Key Issues
6. The Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)
7. The Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)
8. Trade, Development and Other External Action
9. The External Dimension of Internal Policies
10. EU Foreign Policy towards the Neighbourhood
11. EU Foreign Policy towards Major Powers: The US, Russia, China and Emerged and Regional Powers
12. The EU and Multilateral Organizations
13. Conclusions: Theorizing EU Foreign Policy

More information

For more information, visit the Bloomsbury website.