The normative power is very important regarding the European Union. European Union countries struggle or faced with many violence, wars and repressions in history. And common values and norms, shared by European nations, seem to be sustainable candidate for shaping European identity. The EU’s lack of military instruments is often mentioned EU as a normative power. This means that instead of using material incentives or physical force, the EU is using normative power in world politics. Therefore the EU always demands from other countries to same respects for norms and values of EU. In this respect, using military forces or any other forces in order to provide stability or save their own interests are contradictory for the EU’s vision. So the EU does not rely on military force to achieve its aims.
The Article ‘’Normative Power Europe and Conflict Transformation’’ by Thomas Diez and Michelle Pace highlight normative power of EU with examples and also giving to some critics for unsuccessfully of using normative power in some situations. I will evaluate important parts in this article within supporting examples.
The important sentence that in beginning of article is ‘’self-construction of the EU as a normative power has positive effects on its potential influence to bring about positive conflict transformation ‘and ‘’EU actors see themselves and the EU as a whole as a ‘’ force for good’’ in conflict situations, and indeed in world politics generally speaking’’.
Firstly we should remember Manners categorization five ‘’core’’ and four ’’minor’’ norms. He suggests putting ‘peace, liberty, democracy, human rights and rule of law’ as core norms in the European Union, whereas ‘social solidarity, anti-discrimination, sustainable development and good governance are identified as ‘’minor’’ ones.
Regarding to these we can see the EU’s action during to Arab spring, there was reactions from EU side for authorities in order to meet aspirations of people with political reforms.
As well the external representatives of the EU possess standard diplomatic instruments like declarations, conflict mediation, participation in international conferences and meetings. Furthermore after departure of President Ben Ali and fall of the Mubarak regime. High representative Catherine Ashton visited these regions for asking quick transition and free election as well clear timetable for constitutional reforms.
In another sentence supports that ’’EU is constructed as a normative power, or to what extent the EU is sees as as setting standards and leading by example rather than using military or other force in order to influence other actors’’.
The EU’s self-representation as a ‘’force for good’’
‘’When EU instruments for mediating in conflicts situations are restricted to association and therefore stop short of an offer for full EU membership. EU actors resorts to emphasizing to conflict parties the importance of implementing association and cooperation agreements signed by the latter with the EU as these processes bring conflict parties closer to the EU’s image as a ‘’force for good’’.
‘’EU as a ‘force for good’ into a self-fulfilling prophecy, allowing conflict parties to claim what they have been promised’’.
Regarding to this, EU was taking more active role in promoting its norms and values and during to eastern enlargement of EU, we can see main instrument of its normative power. Eastern European countries were struggling with big problem such as human rights problem, minority rights problem and importantly corruptions. The EU’s requirement was from these countries in order to become member of the EU, they had to solve these problems because these problems was against to norm and value of the EU and these countries was need to solve as soon as. In article says that ‘Through the acquis communautaire as well as the acquis of association conflict parties are encouraged to either join the ‘club’ or to participate as close outsiders through association’’. Also in article says that EU has been using integration and association as means to achieve conflict transportation’’.
In addition, before the engagement with other countries bilaterally and multilaterally the EU using their norms and values in all trade agreements, expecting to respect for all norms from other sides. For example, such a candidate country Turkey abolished death penalty after pressure of the EU in order to reach objective. Another example is Ukraine and Albania in order to not losing financial support from the EU side, the local government accepted the norms and ban capital punishment.
‘’Thus, the ‘’force for good’’ discursive framework offers political leaders in conflict cases opportunities to legitimize domestic policies aimed at diminishing conflicts’’. During to Arab spring the EU required from leaders democratic reforms and in Syrian civil war case, the EU used some sanctions for Esed regime in order to stop this conflict. Also for African countries the EU exert normative power and built identity with legitimacy as partners and recognition of their own identity as rule of law. Also there are many humanitarians aid for African region.
‘’EU actors self- description of the EU as a ‘force for good’ produces a platform for activists, civil society organizations and use symbolic tools, to get their leaders to comply with the values, norms and ideals that EU actors advance’’. We can see this during eastern enlargement and also in Arab spring in Syria EU has been actively support activists and human rights defenders.
In article also indicated that ‘’EU actors themselves construct themselves as ’model citizens.’’
The Impact of the EU’s self-representation on conflict transformation
In the article writers are giving two examples –the case of Cyprus- Turkey and the case of Israel/Palestine. In case of Cyprus writer is saying ‘’ aspect of the normative power construction has made the EU problematic as a independent third party from the start.’’ Turkish Cypriot leadership Rauf Denktash didn’t see the EU as a ‘’force for good’’, at least not in the Cyprus context.
In the case of Israel/Palestine the EU was requiring transformation in Middle East for democracy. So that after democratic election in Palestine, Hamas elected but the put him black list of terrorist organizations.
EU’s normative power regarding to transformation of Cyprus issue and Israel- Palestine conflict, EU suggested to be aiming to export its domestic norms externally but normative power of EU appears to be controversial and showed the weakness of the EU’s foreign policy.
Finally we can see that mostly normative power of EU can be effective for conflict transformation and likewise it can be weak in some cases.
In article says that; ’’All of this does not deny the potential that there is in the normative power discourse for a positive role that the EU can play in conflict transportation. The current evidence, however, provides a much more ambiguous and patchy picture. As with other aspects of normative power Europe, such power will only be a positive force to the extent that others accept it, not merely about telling others how great the EU is.’’
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