Integration or a balance of power? The conceptualization of "low" and "high" foreign and security policy within the framework of the European union

  • Tomáš Karásek
Keywords: European integration, foreign and security policy, "high" and "low" politics, integration theories, realism


This article attempts to explain the diverging evolution of foreign and security policy in the EU. It begins by characterizing the CFSP/ESDP at the level of the armed forces, administrative structures, and decision-making bodies in comparison with practical implementation. This survey reveals two modes of interpretation: One based on the realist theory and the other on integration theories of neofunctionalism or institutionalism. The fourth part of this paper expounds upon the finding that neither of these theories are able to fully explain the empirical contradiction, brought forward by the rift between the EU member states in 2003, with regard to the intervention in Iraq, or the parallel dynamic developments within ESDP. The author suggests a possible solution based on the conceptualization of "high" and "low" foreign and security policy, derived from Stanley Hoffmann's original concept.

Author Biography

Tomáš Karásek



Research Articles