European foreign policy in times of crisis: a political development lens

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EU foreign policy has become increasingly politicised over the past years, amongst others as a consequence of the succession of crises. Crises may engender processes of crisis framing and contestation. This article focuses on how the policy demands being voiced in these processes of contestation are channelled through the institutional context. Drawing on insights from American Political Development (APD), it is expounded that this process is shaped by 1) historically created institutional arrangements shaping EU foreign policy through established institutionalised frames and 2) the way external crises generate novel frames that challenge and confront these. Crises and political conflict can ‘evaporate’ existing frames, yet dominant and engrained arrangements subsequently constrain which crises frames are deemed acceptable and which frames are institutionalised. It illustrates this dialectic investigating the dynamics of contestation and politicisation of European Neighbourhood Policy reform after the Arab uprisings and the Ukraine crisis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-782
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of European Integration
Issue number5
Early online date3 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • (American) political development
  • European Union foreign policy
  • European neighbourhood policy
  • Politicisation
  • crisis response
  • institutionalism


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