When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, most countries turned inward. Countries have increasingly committed to global cooperation, with the European Union (EU) taking a leading role. However, analysts have doubted whether this commitment is sincere or if self-interest takes precedence over the common good. This question is central to the Great Debate of international relations: realism, liberalism and constructivism. This thesis analyses the EU global response to COVID-19, with a focus on EU policymaking around vaccines and the resources spend on aid and other support of individual member states. Using a congruence analysis approach, propositions from each of the theories are tested to the two within cases. The thesis argues that realism is, surprisingly, the most congruent with the evidence. However, liberalism provides valuable insights into preference formation, while constructivism provides best explanations of aid donors. The finding that realism is applicable indicates that the EU is indeed becoming more geopolitical in its external action, be it specifically in times of crisis.

Prof.dr. Markus Haverland, Prof. Adria Albareda Sanz
Public Administration
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Marleen van Ooijen. (2021, June 27). Europe first? Between vaccine nationalism and Team Europe: EU’s Global Response to COVID-19. Public Administration. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/60216