Global Europe

Research project

Project leaders: Dr Eva Kassoti, Dr Narin Idriz

The EU’s identity as a global actor is firmly anchored in a distinct normal and political agenda. The Union has consistently portrayed itself as a normative power committed to the ethos of international law, democracy, human rights and multilateralism. But the success of these efforts depends on its credibility and the extent to which the EU can generate support for and trust in its role as a global power. Externally, the EU’s efforts are complicated by the shifting geopolitical balance of power: the ‘America first’ approach by the US, the rise of protectionism and State-led economies, such as China, increasing migration flows, digitalisation, and climate change. Internally, the Union’s credibility is called into question with Brexit and the current rule of law crisis in new EU member states. The EU's challenges are not bound to the political realm, but also encompass legal complexities. The EU has seen the rise of autonomy as a ‘structural principle of EU external relations’, which further complicates the tension at the heart of the EU’s identity: to what extent can the principle of autonomy be reconciled with the EU’s constitutional commitment to respect international law?

This research project is based on three pillars. First, it seeks to explore the internal and external factors that may challenge the EU’s capacity to exercise value-based global leadership on a number of crucial issues. Second, it aims to critically reflect on whether the external projection of the EU as a virtuous normative power comports with its practice on the ground. Third, it addresses the descriptive, conceptual and normative challenges that complement the ever-expanding global reach of EU law. Ultimately, the project deals with questions of trust pertaining to the EU as an international legal actor.

The 'Global Europe' project's research agenda can be found here.


The project carries out several activities, including the publication of academic contributions and the organisation of academic lectures and conferences. The project was launched on 20 September 2019, at the seminar 'The transparency of the global dimension of EU law'.

Global Europe Blog

The Global Europe Blog will focus on 'Europe as a global player in the new strategic context', working towards maintaining and developing the rules-based multilateral order, cooperating with countries of origin and transit on migration, as well as promoting EU’s interests and values.

‘Global Europe is a project within the research strand Transnational public interests: constituting public interest beyond and below the state.