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Scientific article


The European Union's space diplomacy: Contributing to peaceful co-operation?



The European Union (EU) has become a key player in space, second only to that of the USA. This article discusses what type of diplomatic actor the EU is in space by exploring whether it contributes to peaceful co-operation or if the EU — due to increasing geopolitical competition on Earth — is developing into a traditional realist actor. For this purpose, it applies three analytically distinct models of EU space policies, applicable also to other Global Commons areas. It finds that the EU does not treat space as an area of geopolitical competition. Instead, it contributes to space diplomacy through its focus on regulating and institutionalising space activities. However, rather than being driven by ‘the space flight idea’, the EU is committed to the peaceful development of space mainly for economic, strategic and societal purposes, in line with what one would expect of a liberal institutionalist actor.


  • Diplomacy
  • The EU