Great Britain in European External and Security Policy: Review of Western Historiography

Andrii Hrubinko

Ph.D., associate professor, doctoral student in Institute of History of Ukraine, National Academy of Science of Ukraine

UDС 94(420):327.061



The article analyzes the achievements of Western historical science in research of the problem of Britain’s participation in the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy. The author classified scientific publications into three groups: 1) general works on the history of formation the EU’s CFSP; 2) publications on the history of participation the United Kingdom in European integration as a direction of European foreign policy of the state; 3) works, which devoted specifically to the topic of British participation in European foreign and security policy. The results of monitoring the leading foreign scientific publications, the most frequently published materials on European integration and European policy of the United Kingdom are presented. A list of leading scientific centers for the research of the identified issues is also presented. The historical experience of British involvement in the formation and implementation of the EU’s CFSP in Western historiography is mainly covered in general context of the British government’s position on European integration. It was stated that the United Kingdom’s participation in the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union was included in the list topics of research of European (including British) and American scientists, but remains poorly developed. Major scientific developments by European continental and British researchers are presented. Instead, in American historiography, these issues, especially Britain’s role in the CFSP, haven’t been adequately researched. In British historiography, there is a marked opposition between the “Euro-skeptic” and “Euro-optimistic” (pro-European) paradigms. In the published works the analysis of theoretical and conceptual principles, strategic approaches of British governments to the foreign policy component of European integration prevails at different stages of its development. In all three historiographic groups preference is given to research the history of military-political cooperation within the EU, development of ESDP / CSDP. The issues of British participation in the EU CFSP in the period of D. Cameron’s government (2010-2016), practical foreign policy activities of the Community remain insufficiently researched. The topics of the role of British governments in shaping and developing the Eastern European policy of the EU and the Neighborhood policy remain though basically unexplored.


Great Britain, Western historiography, European Union, Common Foreign and Security Policy.

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