Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

The Role of Emotions in EU Foreign Policy (EUMOTIONS)

EUMOTIONS explores the role of emotions expressed by political elites (at EU- and member state-level) in framing the EU’s policy options during international crises.

2024 - 2028
Seda Gürkan
FGGA Starting Grant FGGA Starting Grant

EUMOTIONS seeks to understand:

  • how emotions expressed by political elites relate to the EU’s crisis response;
  • how political elites’ officially expressed emotions influence citizens’ perceptions and support for major foreign policy decisions and actions, such as imposition of sanctions; and
  • how third countries perceive the EU’s emotional rhetoric and its (in-)action in international relations.

Case Study on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

As a case study, EUMOTIONS will focus on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (2022). The project has three core objectives. First, it will establish a new framework of analysis for tracing how official emotions frame the EU’s (in-)action during crises and the implications of official emotional expressions at societal and international levels. This will foster theoretical innovation in EU Studies by bringing ‘emotions’ in EU crisis response. Second, EUMOTIONS will produce an original dataset on emotions communicated by EU politicians, experienced by European publics, and on third countries’ perception of the EU’s crisis narrative and actions. Third, EUMOTIONS will produce an in-depth comparative analysis of the usages and implications of official emotions across four levels (EU, member-state, citizens and international) through the application of the theoretical framework to several instances of foreign policy decisions during the war.

Policy recommendations to EU policymakers

EUMOTIONS aims to generate policy recommendations to EU policymakers about the implications of emotion language in the adoption of policy options as well as in enhancing the EU’s crisis narrative both internally (among European citizens and member states) and externally (vis-à-vis third countries).

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