What is it about?

Our study investigates the evolution of the EU's water diplomacy concept. By studying EU policy texts and interviewing policymakers, we discovered that the EU’s initial focus was on the developmental aspects of water. In the 2010s, this was transformed into a geopolitical conceptualization of water. Presently, EU water diplomacy integrates both these perspectives.

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Why is it important?

As climate change leads to more water-related crises, it's vital to understand the EU's approach. The EU is a major player in worldwide efforts to protect resources, and how it views water — as a matter for aid or as a security issue — matters greatly. The EU's changing perspective, as exposed by this research, has significant effects on how water problems are solved and how people and countries get along when it comes to this essential resource.


It was a great pleasure to shed some light on an underexplored topic. We hope that, as the issue of water will become increasingly important, understanding key tenets of the EU’s water diplomacy makes a useful contribution for both academic and policy communities.

Ediz Topcuoglu
European University Institute

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A European Union ‘Water Diplomacy’? Frames of Water in EU External Action, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, November 2023, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/1871191x-bja10179.
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