RECON Online Working Paper 2011/34

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The Role of Information and Knowledge in the EU Foreign Policy System

Evidence from Heads of Mission’s Reports


Federica Bicchi (London School of Economics and Political Science)



This paper focuses on the role of information and knowledge in the EU foreign policy system. In particular, it examines the case of HoMs reports, which are drafted by Heads of Mission (HoMs) in non-EU countries about the situation on the ground and what the EU could/should do about it. They include both information, such as data, and more complex cognitive schemata defining problems and their potential solutions, here referred to in general terms as knowledge. The paper argues that information and knowledge included in HoMs reports can be both useful to member states and European in nature. It can be useful because the empirical evidence surveyed shows that the majority of HoMs reports cover areas in which few member states have a diplomatic representation. Member states might double-check the information summarized in the reports, but the knowledge included is considered useful. Moreover, the drafting process of a HoMs report does not necessarily reflect a common minimum (or maximum) denominator, but can also emerge from genuine cooperation and reflect a European approach, as shown in the case of the HoMs report on East Jerusalem. As the European External Action Service (EEAS) multiplies its capacity for information gathering and knowledge construction, the issue of whose information and knowledge informs policy proposals is likely to become even more relevant in the future.



Common Foreign and Security Policy — Democracy — Diplomatic Network of European Countries — East Jerusalem — European Integration — European Foreign Policy — Information Gathering — Information Processing — Knowledge



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