Front cover

Fishing Power Europe - The EU’s Normativity in Its External Fisheries Action
Series: Global Europe: Legal and Policy Issues of the EU’s External Action Book Series

January 2023 Author: Mihail Vatsov, European Commission, Brussels, Belgium



  • Published: January 2023
  • Pages: xvi + 245 pp.
  • Publisher: T.M.C. ASSER PRESS
  • Distributor: Springer

This book examines how the EU and international law frameworks impact the EU’s ability to act normatively in its external action in the area of fisheries. The EU, a major fishing power, portrays itself as a normative actor and a champion of sustainable fishing. The volume reconceptualises the Normative Power Europe narrative by identifying three interrelated elements – universality, use of instruments, and legitimacy – as the key criteria against which to evaluate the normativity of the EU’s conduct. The universality element examines the level of international acceptance of the stated aims of EU action; the use of instruments element examines the EU’s participation limitations in relevant international institutions and the means (persuasion as opposed to coercion) through which it acts; and the legitimacy element examines the substance of the EU’s action in terms of legality, protection of common or self-interests, and coherence and consistency.

The book draws upon extensive research into both the international and EU legal frameworks relating to fisheries and the EU’s practice in its external fisheries relations. It consecutively discusses four sets of challenges: (i) to the EU’s normativity posed by lack of membership in global institutions; (ii) created notwithstanding membership in other global or regional bodies; (iii) connected to multileveled coercive action and (iv) to accessing foreign fishing resources. It claims that, while the EU’s normativity depends greatly on its internal and external powers, it is the EU’s inability to freely wield these powers that damages its normativity. To act normatively, the EU primarily needs the full Member States’ support, as its present constitution prevents it from acting completely independently from them.

The volume is aimed at academics and practitioners alike working in the area of fisheries globally but also on the EU’s external action more generally.

Mihail Vatsov is Programme Manager with the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium.

Specific to this book:

  • Comprehensive research into hitherto undiscussed primary EU fisheries-related materials, object of document requests
  • Unparalleled dedicated focus on the EU external action in the area of fisheries under different EU policies
  • Methodological approach relevant beyond fisheries, bridging legal and political science debates using the NPE concept

With a foreword by Prof. Robin Churchill, Emeritus Professor of International Law, University of Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom

This is the third volume in the Global Europe: Legal and Policy Issues of the EU's External Action Book Series

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