Defending eroded states’ sovereignty and the European Union humanitarian aid policy

Piccin, Francesca and Pusterla, Elia R.G. (2010) Defending eroded states’ sovereignty and the European Union humanitarian aid policy. In: UNSPECIFIED, Garnet - Online.

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This paper focuses on international relations and political theories on globalisation and sovereignty, specifically the European Union humanitarian aid policy case study. The globalisation dynamics characterising the current international context are analysed through a neo-functionalist approach. In particular, it will be questioned how globalisation influences and leads to a rethinking of the classical definition of sovereignty. In other words, sovereignty is currently facing an evolution in its conceptualisation, and following application, since states are increasingly unable to act autonomously without external pressures from the international context. Thus, the traditional assumptions about national sovereignty control are de facto challenged. Consequently, in empirical terms, this paper debates how such sovereignty’s evolution influences states’ behaviour. The EU humanitarian aid policy is a particularly interesting case study as competences are emblematically shared at the same time by member states and the European Union. Accordingly, the European Commission has acquired an external competence in implementing humanitarian aid actions at the European level. On the other hand, European member states did not give up any national competence in this field, but they maintain absolute freedom of action, underlying the Commission’s explicit, but not exclusive, competence. This work questions the reason for such a peculiar kind of cooperation in the humanitarian aid field. It tests, in particular, on the one hand, the sovereignty concerns in explaining the EU member states’ reticence in giving up their peculiar competences, and, on the other hand, the role of the EU norms and procedures in prompting a strengthening in favour of centralisation. Moreover, the humanitarian aid policy is susceptible to political rethinking due to the theoretical re-conceptualisation of sovereignty in the current globalised context.

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