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Global Europe: The European Union in World Affairs

Christopher Piening
Global Europe: The European Union in World Affairs
ISBN: 978-1-55587-700-2
1997/252 pages/LC: 97-43

"Provides one of the most exhaustive accounts of the CFSP published to date.... For those seeking an accessible introduction to the European Union's global role, perhaps for use as an undergraduate text, this volume is to be highly recommended."—Robert Harmsen, European Integration

"It succeeds, as few other books do, in explaining ‘how and why the EU has come to assume the status of an emerging global power'.... Piening's book is lucid, well-researched and written."—John Peterson, Political Studies

"Piening offers a 'geopolitical world tour' which takes us to every continent and illustrates how, and why, the European Union has become a major player on the world stage."—Carol Glen, Southeastern Political Review

"A remarkable fresco of the relations developed ove the years by the Community and the European Union with the rest of the world.... Piening examines closely—while remaining very readable—the role played by Community Europe on the world scene.... He focuses on the practical, political and economic consequences of Europe’s gradual rise in power in the international arena, leading the reader to conclude that the Union, regardless of its shortcomings, is already one of the globe’s major powers."—Michel Theys, European Library

"Global Europe shows how the European Union has had an impact not just on Europe itself, but on the rest of the world too. From humble beginnings after World War II, the EU has now become the world's biggest trader and international investor; and as the book makes abundantly clear, economic strength goes hand in hand with political influence. Concise and neatly crafted, Global Europe derives added authority from Piening’s unique insider perspective."—Tom Spencer, Chair, European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs

"Christopher Piening’s book on the EU in world affairs is the best current overview of the subject. Uniquely informative, accessible, and comprehensive, it is a most welcome contribution from a world-wise insider."—Gary Marks,

"A well-conceived, carefully crafted, and well-written book. It is absolutely first-rate. . . . useful in explaining not only the scope and content of EU external relations, but also their historical development and institutional character. It is a major contribution to EU studies and comparative foreign policy literature."—Carolyn Rhodes


The European Union (EU), though comprised of fifteen separate, sovereign states, is constrained by treaty to act "as one" in key areas. And as trader, investor, aid donor, and most recently, foreign-policy maker, it has come to play, in a very short time, a pivotal role on the world stage. This book offers a succinct summary of all of the EU's external activities—and of the impact European integration has come to have far beyond the EU's borders.

Piening traces how the EU's external relations have grown over the forty-odd years of its existence to become what they are today. Discussions of trade policy, emerging foreign and security policy, the role the Union plays in the developing countries and in its own "near abroad," and the kinds of influence it exerts internationally all demonstrate the complex web of formal and informal ties that now link it with all but half a dozen of the world's countries.

Global Europe provides a unique, and uniquely engaging, overview of an increasingly important international actor.


Christopher Piening is head of the European Parliament's office in the United Kingdom. Before joining the EP in the 1970s, he wrote for the Financial Times and Der Spiegel. He pursued postgraduate research in European Community politics at the University of Kent at Canterbury (UK) and in 1995-1996 was European Union Fellow and visiting professor at the University of Washington's Jackson School of International Studies.


  • Introduction.
  • The European Union,
  • World Trader.
  • Toward a Common Foreign Policy.
  • The EU’s Near Abroad: The European Neighbors.
  • The EU's Near Abroad: The Mediterranean and the Middle East.
  • The Transatlantic Relationship: The EU and North America.
  • Latin America and the EU.
  • The EU and Asia.
  • The EU, Lomé, and the Developing World.
  • Global Europe: World Power Pro Tem?
  • Appendixes.