The literature on Normative Power Europe (NPE) largely omits the question of why the EU chooses to focus on particular norms in the first place. This paper goes beyond the assumption that the EU simply externalizes its internal norms, because such a perspective does not sufficiently explain why the EU prioritizes certain norms over others, particularly in the case of contested norms. Using LGBTI rights and Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) in the EU's external human rights policy as two cases, I demonstrate how norm entrepreneurs – both external and internal – have been essential for bringing these norms to the EU's attention. Only after initial internal resistances had been overcome, were these norms able to reach the EU's external agenda. The two cases illustrate the internal political struggles that precede norm selection, supporting recent calls for a more politics-oriented perspective on Normative Power Europe.
Bibliographical noteThis is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Jenichen, A. (2020) The Politics of Normative Power Europe: Norm Entrepreneurs and Contestation in the Making of EU External Human Rights Policy. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies,, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/jcms.13157. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
- LGBTI rights
- freedom of religion or belief (FoRB)
- norm contestation
- norm entrepreneurs
- norm selection
- normative power Europe