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New Directions in EU Foreign Policy Governance: Cross-Loading, Leadership and Informal Groupings

Journal article
Authors Lisbeth Aggestam
Federica Bicchi
Published in Journal of Common Market Studies
Volume 57
Issue 3
Pages 515-532
ISSN 0021-9886
Publication year 2019
Published at Centre for European Research (CERGU)
Department of Political Science
Pages 515-532
Language en
Keywords foreign policy, leadership, Europeanization, Sweden, informal governance
Subject categories Political Science


This article explores new patterns of interaction in foreign affairs among European Union (EU) Member States post‐Lisbon, which have increased reliance on horizontal and informal practices. It argues that cross‐loading among Member States outside EU institutions has moved centre stage and contributed to smaller groups of like‐minded Member States working together. This shift challenges much of our understanding of Europeanization, which is based on vertical forms of uploading and downloading. We illustrate these dynamics using the case of Sweden's recognition of Palestine in October 2014. While this seemed to break away from the established EU consensus, Sweden's decision aimed at leading the way and imparting momentum, especially within the like‐minded group of EU countries. Rather than being an example of de‐Europeanization, this case shows how Member States can seek new ways of exerting influence in the post‐Lisbon environment.

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