Events Calendar

From Thursday 05 October 2017 -  09:00
to Friday 06 October 2017 - 15:30
  • EW

Party politics of foreign and security policy in Europe


This workshop deals with the issue of party politics in foreign affairs. Drawing together a group of international scholars, the workshop asks: does or should party politics really matter less in foreign affairs than in domestic policy?

In domestic issues party-political conflicts and public discussion are seen as normal and a prerequisite for democratic deliberation, whereas foreign policy decision-makers often evoke notions of national unity and confidentiality. Foreign policy analysis has likewise mainly underlined the importance of economic or geopolitical interests and traditions, downplaying or neglecting the impact of party ideologies.

Yet there are good grounds for expecting party-political differences and contestation over foreign and security policy. In a world characterized by increasing interdependence, troop deployments, arms deals or international agreements on trade, energy, migration, and human rights are all issues that have more tangible consequences for domestic constituencies. Whether to enter ‘wars of choice’ or export arms to a certain country are likely to be more contested decisions than during the Cold War. 

Workshop aim and topics

The workshop fills the gap in the literature, particularly through providing more systematic evidence of whether party politics makes a difference in foreign and security policies. Papers particularly address the following topics:

  • Party positions and/or coalitions in various foreign and security policy issues
  • Transnational coordination between parties in foreign affairs (in the European Parliament, international parliamentary assemblies, or in other networks of national parties)
  • The impact of party ideology on foreign policy or on international politics (versus other explanatory factors)
  • The role of party politics in foreign policy decision-making process (public contestation or consensus in the name of national interest) 

The workshop builds on the workshop  “Legislative-executive Relations in Foreign and Security Policy” that was held at the VU Amsterdam in May 2015 and resulted in a special issue of West European Politics. As with the previous workshop, we aim at a publication of a (selection of) the papers as a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal or as an edited volume with a high-ranking academic publisher.  

About the organisers

Tapio Raunio is professor of Political Science at the University of Tampere. His research interests include legislatures and political parties, the Europeanization of domestic politics, semi-presidentialism and the Finnish political system.

Wolfgang Wagner is professor of International Security at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and co-leader of the theme “Europe and the World” in ACCESS EUROPE. His major research interest concerns the manifold links between domestic politics and international conflict.



Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, room t.b.a.