American Perceptions of the European Union and Its Role in World Affairs

Yannis A. Stivachtis


There is a general consensus that the European Union (EU) has become a very important and influential international actor. In this process, the EU Member States have developed their own understanding and justification of the EU’s international role. However, there is a growing interest in exploring whether there are any gaps between how the EU understands and presents itself to the world and how ‘Others’ perceive its role. This article investigates the American perceptions of the EU and its international role. Drawing on the theoretical and historical framework of the English School, the article explores the American perceptions against the historical development of the relations of the United States with various European states and the EU as a whole. It argues that American perceptions of the EU and of its international role have little or nothing to do with the American experience with European colonialism and imperialism. The existence of strong cultural, political, economic, and social ties between the U.S. and the European countries explains why the EU is trusted so much by the American public. Therefore, the divergence between the U.S. and the EU occurs within the bonds of a family of states that distinguishes itself from the rest of the international society.

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Review of European Studies   ISSN 1918-7173 (Print)   ISSN 1918-7181 (Online)

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