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Word Count: 2,265
Europes multiple identities be it geographical political institutional economical or moral identities or any combination must be taken into consideration when analysing whether the European Union is an international actor The European Unions influence in world affairs is on the increase The process of integration the launch of the Euro and the progressive development of a common foreign and security policy are all providing the EU with political and diplomatic status to match its undoubted economic and commercial clout The Union has a number of strategic foreign policy objectives The first is to establish a stable Europe with a stronger voice in the world The recent wars in Bosnia and Kosovo the bloody fighting in Chechnya the international war on terror as well as the current crisis in the Gulf underline how important it is to secure peace democracy and respect for human rights throughout Europe and the world beyond Enlargement can help achieve that by creating an internal market of over 500 million consumers and ending the long divide in Europe As the worlds biggest trading partner the EU is also determined to secure its international competitiveness while at the same time promoting global commerce through further liberalisation of world trade rules - a process that it believes will be of particular benefit to developing countries Until recently there were three main components to the Unions external activities trade policy development aid and the political dimension These provided it with considerable instruments for a credible foreign policy in diplomatic economic and commercial arenas It now wants to reinforce these capabilities if and when necessary with the ability to use force where its vital interests are at stake and to be able to respond more effectively to crises This does not mean fighting wars or creating a European army It means greater co-operation between EU members in carrying out humanitarian and peacekeeping tasks At the same time the Union is becoming more involved in security
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