Resilience as the new EU foreign policy paradigm: a pragmatist turn?

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This paper examines the rise of resilience discourses in EU foreign policy. The European Union Global Strategy (EUGS) refers to building state and societal resilience in its neighbourhood as one of the key strategic priorities of the EU. This paper argues that the discourse of resilience that permeates the EUGS chimes well with a pragmatist turn in social sciences and global governance. The EUGS introduces resilience building alongside an emphasis on flexibility, tailor-made approaches, and the need for local ownership, capacity-building and comprehensiveness. More importantly, the new EUGS proposes ‘principled pragmatism’ as a new operating principle in its foreign policy. While this might suggest a more pragmatic EU foreign policy, a closer examination of the EUGS discourse reveals significant tensions between a pragmatic and a principled foreign policy, which undermine the added value of resilience-building as a new foreign policy paradigm
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Security
Issue number1
Early online date24 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • European Foreign Policy
  • EU Global Strategy
  • Resilience
  • Pragmatism


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