Finding a Place in the World: European Identity and the Civilizational State
Serpa Arango, Felipe
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The rise of ambitious countries identifying themselves as ‘civilizational states’ and questioning the international liberal order has in recent years been the subject of increased debate in international relations. In this context, the European Union has taken to employing civilizational rhetoric as well, with official references to a ‘European way of life’ as a separate policy area and ‘systemic rivals’ as a label for powerful states which undermine the human rights based system promoted by the EU. This has occurred alongside calls for European strategic autonomy and the declaration of a ‘geopolitical’ European Commission. This thesis argues that the construction of a civilizational narrative for the European Union serves the goal of fostering a foreign and security policy more independent from the United States, the delineation of boundaries with countries identified as threats to the EU’s values on an international scale, such as China, and of pushing back against the narrative promoted by Vladimir Putin’s Russia over Ukraine.