Cornelius Adebahr

Cornelius Adebahr
Address: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
Rauchstr. 17-18
D-10787 Berlin
Telephone: +49-30-254 231 44


Learning and Change in European Foreign Policy: The case of the EU Special Representatives

Organisational learning is key in understanding the inner dynamics of European foreign policy. While some concepts have evolved in sociology and microeconomics, the subject is still understudied in international relations or European integration theories. This is deplorable as these theories explore the nexus between structure and agency on the sub-systemic level. They conceptualise individual learning experiences based on external events and how they have become internalised into foreign policies, as which they again impact on the international environment. Thus, to relate this approach and its findings to the dominating methods of European foreign policy analysis bears the expectation of promising theoretical conclusions. The goal of this study is twofold: First, it will draw conclusions on the validity of these learning theories. Second, it aims to judge their epistemological value for European foreign policy, i.e. what is the substance of what the EU has learned since it has become a major actor on the international scene. A case study will examine the role of the EU Special Representatives in Africa, the Balkans, and Central Asia, looking broadly at the period of 1996 to 2007. The rising number and changing scope of responsibility of the Special Representatives clearly show the importance of this foreign policy instrument. As proxies of the EU’s foreign policy High Representative, they act and interact on a high political level. Furthermore, they are associated with the way the Union sees itself and so mirror exemplarily the worldview of this actor.












Dr Cornelius Adebahr

Political Scientist and Entrepreneur


Professional Career (Overview)


Other Information

Professional website: