How can we best understand the European Union (EU) in global politics? The most popular approaches to this question seek to answer it in a number of ways – by comparing it with other actors such states, regional organisations or international organisations – or by declaring it unique and beyond comparison. Both political and scholarly assessments argue that ‘we are one of the most important, if not the most important, normative powers in the world’ (Barroso in Peterson, 2008: 69) and that ‘Europe has tremendous normative power’ (Moravcsik, 2010: 18). The normative power approach set out here makes it possible to explain, understand, and judge the EU in global politics by rethinking the nature of power and actorness in a globalising, multilateralising and multipolarising era. The EU uses normative power in global politics but the question is whether it is more prone than other actors to do so? In areas which are core to the ‘European project’, it seems clear that the EU is more disposed to use normative power.
Key Controversies in European Integration, 2012, p. 192-198