A Foreign Policy Analytic Approach to European Policy-Making regarding the Joint Com-prehensive Plan of Action

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Starting out with observing the puzzling reality of diplomatic relations between the United States and the European Union recently, this thesis sheds some light on the decision-making process of the European Union. This complex process requires not only a strong theoretical foundation but also a structured academic approach. Neoclassical Realism (NCR) and Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) together form the backbone to answer the main research question: Which factors are responsible for the initial and continued EU support of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action, better known as the Iran Deal? Neoclassical Realism as a macro theory gives a strong backbone in international relations theory to FPA as an approach. The combination of both theoretical frameworks forms the base of the empirical analysis. Extrapolated from this, four major factors of influence are found: influence of the leader, the bureaucratic process, domestic actors, and cultural influences. Analyzing the EU in the context of the JCPOA regarding these factors showed that the leader, foreign policy representative Mogherini likely had a position of influence, in combination with the governing bodies of the EU. The oil and gas lobby and culture are also likely factors of influence, although it is harder to prove a direct link in this respect.
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