The Diplomatic System of the EU (DSEU) Network aims to investigate the growth and functioning of a diplomatic system centred on the European Union. It focuses on three key challenges facing this system in the coming decade: the internal challenge of institutional change and inter-institutional cooperation, and the external challenges posed by emerging powers and by the EU’s engagement in state-building in fragile societies.

The network is financed by the European Commission’s Jean Monnet Programme, involves three key project partners - Loughborough University (lead partner, UK), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (BE) and Maastricht University (NL) - and will run initially from September 2009 until August 2011.

The network has three central aims:

  • To provide a cross-national study of the EU’s diplomatic system, using a common framework composed of two elements - the institutional development of the system, and the patterns and processes of EU diplomacy – and to analyse EU diplomacy towards a number of counterparts.
  • To do this on the basis of a cross-disciplinary approach bringing together elements of historical documentation, public policy research, international relations theory and analysis, legal approaches and theories of negotiation and socialisation.
  • To engage with relevant policy communities and with non-governmental organisations interested in the development of the EU’s diplomatic system, and to use these as reference groups against which to test its findings.

The methodology adopted by the network centres on:

  • Identification of the key contours of the EU’s diplomatic system, of key challenges to the system and of issues surrounding the impact and of the system.
  • Framing of key research questions relating to the evolution, the functioning and the effectiveness of the system, and application of these to key case studies.
  • Three research strands, each led by one of the partners: the institutional development of the system (Maastricht), the pursuit of ‘strategic diplomacy’ in relation to the BRIC countries (Loughborough) and the pursuit of ‘structural diplomacy’ in relation to EU involvement in Kosovo and the DR Congo (KU Leuven).

The key activities conducted by the network will include:

  • Organising a series of events (workshops and conferences) held at key stages, and culminating in a major conference to be held in Brussels during 2011.
  • Constructing a network web site designed to house key project materials and to provide links to a variety of other research projects in the field of EU foreign policy and diplomacy.
  • Editing a series of policy papers drawing on the research conducted within the network, and reflecting the various stages of the research.
  • Production of an edited volume bringing together the key findings of the research activities and including contributions from experts both within the partner institutions and the broader network contacts established during the project.
The first event organised by the network was a conference on ‘The Diplomatic System of the European Union: The State of the Art, held at Loughborough University on 4-5 December 2009. Workshops revieiwing the key research strands will follow in September 2010 (Maastricht) and April 2011 (Leuven), with the final conference taking place in Brussels in February 2012.
logos Maastricht University Kathoieke Universiteit Leuven Centre for the Study of International Governance Loughborough University Education and Culture DG

Contact DSEU

Tel: +44 (0)1509 222991
Fax: +44 (0)1509 223917
Email: dseu@lboro.ac.uk