Normative Power Europe: EU international identity and foreign policy


Time line

1 November 2014 – 30 October 2017

This research package is a part of a larger research framework of the NZ European Union Centres Network

Main objectives

  1. To undertake a sustainable interdisciplinary cutting-edge collaborative research to advance a research agenda on the EU’s ability to influence norms, values and ideas beyond its borders. To focus research on the three main research themes:
    1. EU development and Humanitarianism: Parallels and Contradictions
    2. The EU and global discourses on fundamental values and equality
    3. ‘Normative Power Europe’ and EU External Outreach: EU international identity and foreign policy
      1. In the EU Neighourhood
      2. In New Zealand, Asia-Pacific and wider world (including traditional, public and cultural diplomacies)
    Conceptual focus on EU external perceptions is incorporated into the research agendas of the three research themes

  2. To focus on the interaction – dialogue and collaboration -- between the sender (the EU) and recipients of the normative messages. This focus is placed in order to investigate tensions between ‘global’ norms and ‘local’ practices, accounting for possible misperceptions, misunderstanding and miscommunication as well as conflicting interests on both sides. Special attention will be given to the EU’s ‘normative’ dialogue with New Zealand and wider Asia-Pacific, as well as EU Neighourhood and EU other global partners.

  3. To research a range of influences by the EU in order to understand the nuances of the recipients’ reactions. Among those influences are active and passive as well as internal and external ones.  The former perspective provides a nuanced insight into the intention to send and receive normative message for them to be promoted, diffused, perceived, mediated, and incorporated as a part of local practice in recipient states. The latter considers EU influences inside and outside the EU while taking into consideration the geographical and spatial distance from the EU.

  4. To advance comparative research agenda (the EU vis-à-vis New Zealand, the Pacific and wider Asia-Pacific) in order to develop ideas relating to benchmarking, leadership and model frameworks linking them to global challenges of the multi-polar world; to overcome naïve universalism of theories and conceptualisations developed in single-country studies

  5. To provide regular feedback to EU practitioners involved with the EU’s external outreach, local political, business, and civil society stakeholders on the interplay between the EU as a norm-maker and recipient countries as norm-takers. Research surrounding the exportation of EU norms is conceptualised in this research package to provide a useful tool for understanding the potential global impact of the EU as an alleged ‘Normative Power”.

  6. To create a new generation of early-career scholars and researchers of European integration, of “Normative Power Europe” and of EU external identity and influences in New Zealand.  The goal is to equip this new cohort of scholars with both technical/substantive and ethical backgrounds (i.e. researchers who have an understanding of interactions between cultures and an appreciation of social justice). It also aims to provide basis for an appreciation of cultural diversity and sensitivity to the operation of the EU across the world in various contexts.

Annually, research team of the package undertakes

  1. Sponsorship for a cohort of the post-graduate students (Honours, MAs and PhDs) to carry out research in the field of NPE and external normative influences.
  2. NZEUCN ‘NPE package’ Staff Research Exchanges  and collaborative research projects  with the leading research institutions in the EU specializing on studies of “Normative Power Europe”
  3. Research exchange  visits by leading scholars of the NPE to the NZ EUCN partners involved in the package
  4. NZEUCN ‘NPE Package’ Annual Research Round Table/Symposium of NZ EUCN NPE researchers with New Zealand and EU/EU Member States’ Stakeholders (political, business, diplomatic, civil society, media and academics).
  5. NZEUCN ‘NPE Package’ Annual Panel at the NZ EUCN or trans-Tasman joint conferences of the EU Centres.
  6. Participation of the NPE Package researchers and supervised by them students in the  NZEUCN Annual Post-Graduate Researchers Retreats
  7. Pilot Research Projects to advance research agenda and test new themes , theories and methods
  8. Publication of the Special Issue or Edited Volume with Prestigious Academic Publisher  featuring main results of the “NPE” package
  9. Curriculum Development

Project researchers


  • Professor Natalia Chaban, NCRE, UC, Research Package Leader


  • Dr James Headley, Political Science Department, Otago University
  • Associate Professor Annick Masselot, AFIS, UC
  • Dr Katharine Vadura, NCRE, UC
  • Associate Professor John Hopkins, Law, UC
  • Dr Serena Kelly, NCRE, UC



Professor Annika Björkdahl and Professor Natalia Chaban at the launch of the book “Importing EU Norms: Conceptual Frameworks and Empirical Findings” co-edited by A. Björkdhal, N. Chaban, J. Leslie and A. Masselot (Springer, 2015), Lund University, Sweden

Working Package #2 Symposium “Norrmative Power Europe?”, UC, NZ