The EU’s Normative Power: The Case of Israel

Sharon Pardo and Krassimir Nikolov discuss whether EU foreign policy can shape values and norms in Israel

18/04/2013 | 11:00 - 13:00 | DGAP | Invitation only


Category: Israel, European Union

Europe strives to conduct a foreign policy based on values. Its norms are intended to have an impact around the world – and reach its immediate neighbors in particular. But how successful is Europe as a normative power? This was the subject of the recent Brussels Briefing in which Sharon Pardo, who holds the Jean-Monnet Chair for European Studies at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, talked to Krassimer Nikolov, desk officer on Isreal at the European External Action Service (EEAS).


Sharon Pardo emphasized the clear separation between the EU’s normative approach and its economic interests with regard to Israel. “Especially because the EU’s normative position has no impact on trade relations, all the member states are prepared to support a coherent normative position, which makes it possible for the EU to speak with one voice,” he said. This has resulted, however, in member states often conducting trade relations with states whose politics are not directly in accord with European values, which effectively undermines Europe’s normative power. Krassimir Nikolov stressed that in this case it is essential to keep in mind the very particular aspects of Israel’s identity and its right to exist. The EU’s scope for action as a normative power is limited because many questions relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are of existential importance. In areas where the conflict plays a less significant role, the EU can have more success exporting its norms and standards to Israel.

The speakers came to the DGAP at the invitation of the Alfred von Oppenheim Center for European Policy Studies within the framework of its “Brussels Briefings” series. Almut Möller, the Oppenheim Center’s program head, moderated the discussion.


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