One of the key tenets for the FEPS approach to international relations has been a focus on mutual respect and on the potential to learn a great deal from the perspectives of others. This has informed the manner in which FEPS has build networks in many parts of the world with a view to basing progressive EU foreign policy on holistic understanding of strategic partners. Furthermore, FEPS recognises that domestic policy is inherently intertwined with foreign policy in the highly globalised 21st century. The FEPS approach to EU external action touches upon areas such as the environment, energy, civil liberties, trade, economics and finance.
FEPS uses a number of approaches to these issues, including a series of networks in various parts of the world and specialist correspondents from like-minded foundations and research institutions. In addition, FEPS has signed Memoranda of Understanding and observer membership agreements with several international partner organisations ranging from the United States and China to Australia and various parts of Africa. In addition, FEPS uses research networks to advance specific aims. The Mediterranean research network has assiduously worked on issues pertaining to democratisation in North Africa. With the onslaught of the Arab Spring, the political landscape has shifted considerably. FEPS has hosted numerous activists from across the region for training seminars and information sessions.
Further to this, staff members from FEPS have visited Egypt and Tunisia on missions related to issues ranging from political reform and institutional issues to gender equality. In sub-Saharan Africa, FEPS has a wide network of contacts and has run events in cooperation with partners in South Africa, Zambia, Senegal, Mozambique and Cote d’Ivoire to name but a few. Throughout these projects, FEPS has sought the most innovative and progressive approaches to development and political reform. Through seeking the opinions of people within the partner countries themselves, FEPS brings a more informed perspective back to Europe.
With the plethora of contacts made with foundations and research centres in the other continents, FEPS wishes to deepen its research activities related to EU’s place in world. Furthermore, with the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty and the establishment of the European External Action Service, it becomes increasingly necessary to formulate policy proposals on EU external relations. “New Dynamics for the Security Policies of the European Union” forms a research proposal to review and reassess EU security policies on the internal and the external levels. There will be three central research fields of the proposed project: the objectives, procedures and institutions of the Common Security and Defence Policy on the one and of Justice and Home Affairs policy on the other hand, and their evolving overlapping activity where they act in collaborative manner.