The European Foreign Policy Unit (EFPU) is one of several research units based in the International Relations Department. It links seven full-time members of staff, and acts as a focus for research and teaching on issues relating to European foreign policy. EFPU members are currently researching and writing on topics such as the EU’s policies towards the Mediterranean region and south-eastern Europe; EU-UN relations; European diplomacy; and EU trade policy. EFPU publishes working papers, and has organised conferences on European foreign policy.
Over the past year, EFPU has been active in the current debates in the UK about the future of its relationship with the European Union. It has also just received funding to participate in a European network on teaching and research on European foreign policy.
EFPU has responded to several calls for evidence from the UK government and parliament, to contribute its combined expertise to ongoing debates about the UK’s future relationship with the EU, and the future direction of EU foreign and security policy. The EFPU website has links to all of the evidence we submitted. In December 2014, the evidence submitted by EFPU members to the UK government’s ‘Review of the Balance of Competences between the UK and the EU: Enlargement’, was cited extensively in the final report. In September 2015, EFPU members submitted evidence to the House of Lords Sub-Committee on EU External Affairs about the ongoing review of the EU’s foreign policy strategy. And in October 2015, EFPU members contributed evidence to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee about the implications of ‘Brexit’ for British foreign policy. We will continue to engage in the public debate about Brexit and foreign policy, as that debate heats up in the months to come.
In the spring, EFPU started work as part of the ANTERO network, which brings together top scholars in the field. ANTERO aims to strengthen the interaction between researchers in EU foreign policy and the translation of that research into innovative, research-led teaching. ANTERO thus furthers exchanges of information and ideas with colleagues across Europe about ongoing research projects as well as best practices in teaching related to European foreign policy, thus benefitting from a truly excellent network of knowledge. Together with the LSE, there are six participating universities across the UK and Europe (University College Dublin, in the lead, University of Kent, University of Leuven, University of Maastricht, University of Tampere and ARENA in Oslo). Moreover, UACES, the academic association for contemporary European studies, also participates to activities and liaises with younger scholars. The first ANTERO Network conference is taking place on December 9-11 in Brussels, and will look at the first of the network’s research themes – the internal legitimacy of EU foreign policy – as well as initiating work on best practice in teaching EU foreign policy. A series of research and teaching panels are being finalised with full details shortly available on the dedicated ANTERO web site.