An empirical test of competing Neo-Realist theories applied to the EU as an actor in the global balance of power
The present paper seeks to make sense of recent EU naval capability changes by applying neo-realist theory on the EU as an international actor in the global balance of power. The paper compares three different strands of Neo-realist theory by deducting key predictions about the expected defense posture of the Union and the expected changes in naval capabilities. The predictions are subsequently held up against recent data on naval military build-up in the EU. The paper argues that the observed patterns are best explained not as bandwagoning with the United States, but as a long-term balancing strategy aimed at bolstering the autonomy and international influence of the Union, vis-à-vis other major powers, including the United States.
Balance of Power; EU; neorealism; Naval
Main Research Area:
ECPR - Fifth Pan-European Conference on EU Politics, 2010