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Human Rights, Geostrategy, and EU Foreign Policy, 1989–2008

  • Joakim Kreutz

Is foreign policy influenced by humanitarian concerns, or are concepts such as human security merely rhetoric for traditional power politics? Using a multilevel modeling technique and a unique data set of military and economic European Union (EU) intervention 1989–2008, I find that military and economic interventions by the EU are conducted in response to humanitarian atrocities but that geostrategic concerns also influence EU action. While the EU consistently is more likely to act against countries with greater civilian victimization, the size of the effect is influenced by spatial considerations. The EU is most attentive to human rights violations in non-EU European states, followed by countries in sub-Saharan Africa, while it has been least active in Asia and the Americas.

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An earlier version of this research note was presented at the meeting of the ECPR Standing Group on European Union politics, Tampere, Finland, in September 2012. Thanks to Christian Altpeter, Emma Elfversson, Sara Lindberg Bromley, Mathilda Lindgren, and Ausra Padskocimaite for assistance with data collection. I am also grateful to the editor and anonymous reviewers for their encouraging and constructive feedback.

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