Responsive not strategic: The EU’s policy towards Mercosur

Gomez Arana, Arantza (2011) Responsive not strategic: The EU’s policy towards Mercosur. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.
Printed Thesis Information:


This thesis seeks to examine the motivations for the European Union’s (EU) policy
towards the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), the EU’s most important
relationship with another regional economic integration organisation. As such, the EUMercosur
relationship has a prominent place in the literature on the EU as a global actor.
This thesis argues that the dominant explanations in the literature -- balancing the US,
global aspirations, being an external federator, long-standing economic and cultural ties,
economic interdependence, and the Europeanization of Spanish and Portuguese national
foreign policies – fail to adequately explain the EU’s policy. In particular, these accounts
tend to infer the EU’s motives from its activity. Drawing extensive primary documents,
this thesis argues that the major developments in the relationship -- the 1992 Interinstitutional
Agreement and the 1995 Europe Mercosur Inter-regional Framework
Cooperation Agreement – were initiated by Mercosur. Moreover, a free trade agreement
was included in the latter agreement which negotiations finally started in 1999 due to the
insistence of Mercosur. This means that rather than the EU pursuing a strategy, as implied
by most of the existing literature, the EU was largely responsive. How it responded to
Mercosur’s overtures, however, has been influenced by some of the factors highlighted in
the literature, most notably the Europeanisation of Portuguese and, particularly, Spanish
foreign policies. Also the Commission’s role as external federator has influenced as well,
although to a lesser extent. Overall, however, these supposedly causal factors have
provided only a very weak impetus for EU policy, which explains in large part why the
relationship is much less developed than the EU’s relations with other parts of the world.
Beyond providing a distinctive and empirically rich account of the EU’s relationship with
Mercosur, this thesis contributes to the literature on the EU as a global actor, particularly
the extent to which it is a strategic actor, and to the literature on Europeanization of
national foreign policies of member states from a bottom-up perspective with the case of
Spain and Portugal.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: EU, Mercosur, Association Agreement, Strategic Actor, International Trade
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Supervisor's Name: Young, Professor Alasdair R.
Date of Award: 2011
Embargo Date: 12 July 2015
Depositing User: Miss MA Gomez-Arana
Unique ID: glathesis:2011-3512
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2012
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 14:08

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