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BETWEEN VÖLKERRECHTSFREUNDLICHKEIT AND REALPOLITIK: THE EU AND TRADE AGREEMENTS COVERING OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

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The EU’s identity as a global actor is firmly anchored in a distinct normative and political agenda; it has consistently portrayed itself as a normative power committed to the strict observance of international law. However, more recently, the EU’s practice in relation to the conclusion of trade agreements covering occupied territories has increasingly challenged the narrative of “normative power Europe”. In this light, the present article attempts a survey of the relevant EU practice by focusing on two case studies: Palestine and Western Sahara. The article argues that, in both cases, the EU has fallen foul of the obligation to promote the right to self-determination and of the corollary obligation of non-recognition. Furthermore, it argues that the EU has adopted a largely inconsistent approach when it comes to the labelling of products originating from occupied territories – something that severely undermines the international credibility and legitimacy of its external action. Overall, this contribution asserts that there is a growing gap between EU identity rhetoric as a promoter of global fundamental values, on the one hand, and realpolitik, on the other.

10.1163/22116133-90000161
/content/journals/10.1163/22116133-90000161
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/content/journals/10.1163/22116133-90000161
2017-10-11
2017-12-13

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