The Department of Politics is hosting the following research seminar on Wednesday 16th November:

"Linkage Power Europe: How the EU Exercises Its Power in the Westphalian System"

Dr Zhang Xiaotong, Wuhan University, China

Wednesday 16th November 1pm (refreshments available from 12.30pm) | Room 216 Elmfield


The Westphalian system, a nation-state-centred, power politics-based and military superiority-worshipping world, is still largely a dominant paradigm in today’s international politics. As the EU is neither a sovereign state nor a great military power, the Realist theories deny the EU’s great power status, while the “civilian power”, “normative power” and other somewhat liberal and idealist European theories unrealistically hold that the EU can change and even has surpassed the Westphalian System, without paying sufficient attention to the power politics occurring between the EU and other actors. This paper critiques the Realist and liberal theories on EU power and suggests that the EU is in nature a kind of “linkage power”, featuring flexible deployment of the EU’s diverse power resources. It stresses that the EU is not a post-modern actor living beyond the Westphalian system, but a linkage power which is able to comprehensively use political, economic and normative power resources. The EU, through linkage strategies, attempts to overcome its congenital defects such as internally fragmented decision-making and inadequate military strengths, and to tactfully translate its non-military strengths into diverse power advantages in external negotiations. When addressing traditional geopolitical challenges, the EU extensively practices power conversion strategies by converting wealth or norms into power and to use the power resources in non-military sectors to provide power needed for the military and security sectors, following a path of power politics differing from that of a traditional military power.