Philosophical foundations for a constructivist and institutionalist relationship between the European Union and Australia.
Thesis DisciplineEuropean Studies
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The European Union (EU) and Australia share a significant volume of historical connections in languages, cultures, economic and trade relationships, political views and ideas. These associations have had different levels of strength and frequencies in the past, depending on how these two political entities interacted with each other in the framework of international relations. Australia and the EU jointly developed an important political and socio-economic basis for working together, and cooperation between them is deeper and more common than the public might perceive to be the case. The EU is a growing superstructure; meanwhile Australia is a developed and successful nation, a successful democracy and a middle power. Nevertheless, Australia cannot expect to match the power and position of a polity, which comprises 28 different countries. This fact can produce a certain asymmetric relationship in the connection between these two political entities' communities. These asymmetric elements in the collaboration between them are liable to create certain discrepancies and disharmonies in the development of their different agreements in general. This thesis aims to examine the scope and depth of the EU-Australia working relationship, the convergent and the divergent issues within it. This exploration provides an analysis of the philosophical and sociological foundations of international relations in general, with special regard to the framework of sociological constructivism and sociological institutionalism, as possible catalysers in the growth and furtherance of the many-sided EU-Australia collaboration. To reach the most effective and efficient cooperation between the European Union and Australia, which includes the efforts to alleviate the urgent environmental sustainability and related problems regionally, and in a globalising world, will go a long way to create peace, security, and prosperity in Eurasia and in the Pacific. The EU-Australia mutual relationship is facilitated through shared values, norms and normative principles, such as the constitutive norms of liberty, democracy, good governance; the regulative norms of the centrality of peace, human rights, social solidarity, environmental sustainability; and the evaluative norms of the rule of law, transparency, human dignity and anti-discrimination. The willingness of the European Union and Australia to partake in a joint experience of continuous social learning process, provide them the power to achieve their aims together in a changing world.