Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Europe as an International Actor
Considering Europe as an international actor continues to be a contested perspective in the study of European politics and international relations, even though scholars and decision makers increasingly see Europe as an important player within the global political system. Thus, the meaning of the phrase Europe as an international actor needs a few clarifications to avoid misunderstandings and disputes. Actor is not a controversial concept in political science. Broadly speaking, it means a unit (person, group, or organization) able to select and carry out actions aimed at influencing the subjects, institutions, and policies of the political system. Accordingly, international actor is the unit capable of making decisions aimed at influencing other international actors and the institutions and policies of the international political system. States as well as international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and associations of various kinds are considered to be international actors—that is, units having attributes such as rationality How ...