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In an attempt to
move the debate on the EU’s international identity beyond

the ‘civilian
power versus military power’ opposition (see Chapter 1), Ian

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Manners in 2002
suggested that attention should be paid to the EU as a

‘normative power’.
First, this normative power refers to the EU’s ‘ability

to shape
conceptions of “normal” in international relations’ (2002: 239).

Second, because of
its origin in the post-Second World War period, its

hybrid political
system and its constitutional focus on fundamental human

rights, the EU is
also predisposed to act in a normative way and to put a

particular set of
norms at the centre of its relations with other parts of the

world. These norms
include five ‘core norms’ (peace, liberty, democracy,

rule of law, and
human rights and fundamental freedoms) as well as four

more contested
‘minor norms’ (social solidarity, anti-discrimination,

development and good governance). Manners differentiates

between various
factors which, directly or indirectly, contribute to the

EU’s diffusion of
norms. Based on a case study on the EU’s role in the

campaign for the
abolition of the death penalty, he demonstrates how the

EU increasingly
exercises normative power ‘as it seeks to redefine international

norms in its own
image’ (2002: 252) and concludes that ‘the ability

to define what
passes for “normal” in the world politics is, ultimately, the

greatest power of
all’ (2002: 253).

The concept of
normative power has become a central theme in the

analysis of EU
foreign policy. A considerable body of work has applied the

concept to the
EU’s stance towards a multitude of geographic regions and

thematic issues,
with findings varying widely over regions and issues (see,

among others,
Aggestam 2008; Brummer 2009; Falkner 2007; Laïdi 2008;

Nicolaïdis and
Whitman 2013; Noutcheva 2009; Scheipers and Sicurelli

2008; Storey 2006;
Whitman 2011). The concept has also been criticized:

for being too
ambiguous to serve as a basis for rigorous analysis (Forsberg

2011); for being a
specific dimension of ‘civilian power’ rather than a truly

separate concept
(Diez 2005); for focusing too strongly on ideational

factors and
neglecting material factors and the impact of changing power

relations on the
global level (Hyde-Price 2006; Pollack 2012); or for

taking too easily
European or Western norms as a basis of the analysis

(Cavatorta and
Pace 2010a).

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