Elite theory up to now has been largely neglected within foreign policy analysis. This paper attempts to apply the concepts of elite theory on European foreign policy-making. Its focus is on elite consensus and competition, not least because such cleavages are particularly evident in this arena, where Member States’ decision-makers compete with each other and with the various Brussels institutions, while at the same time speaking the language of cohesion and solidarity. Forms of significant scrutiny for common European diplomacy are less visible. There is a political and informational gap between the national parliamentary processes and the increasingly complex processes of foreign policy coordination. Thus when a crisis arises, national politics and institutions move into the vacant space.
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