Teresa La Porte: The Public Diplomacy of the EU

CPD Conversations in Public Diplomacy

The USC Center on Public Diplomacy was proud to host CPD Visiting Scholar, Teresa La Porte, for a Conversation in Public Diplomacy. Teresa La Porte led a roundtable on the public diplomacy of the European Union, exploring how the EU communicates to member States.

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During her talk, Professor La Porte discussed the organizational structure of the EU and its effect on the way public diplomacy is conducted by the union. As she explained, security matters are still determined by sovereign states, while trade and environmental policies are decided collectively. Consequently, public diplomacy within Europe is influenced greatly by trade and environmental issues. She noted that the tools of dialogue and public diplomacy are the European Union's primary means of international diplomacy, in contrast to the 'hard power' options held in reserve by sovereign states.

The major goal of EU public diplomacy, stated La Porte, is to promote European interests abroad and promote the EU model of integration. She explained the various ways in which the EU conducts public diplomacy:

  • as a normative power, using its influence to shape conceptions of international norms
  • as an alternative economic model
  • encouraging bottom-up civil society engagement (for example, through non-governmental organizations)

The EU, she continued, does not have a public diplomacy department but conducts its external relationship policies through the European Commission, engaging states and foreign publics through information, mutually beneficial projects and other aid. While the EU has many challenges, not the least of which is internal focus and unity, La Porte believes it makes a valuable international contribution and has yet undemonstrated potential. In addition, its efforts at public diplomacy demonstrate, in her view, that the nation-state is ceding power to the local and supranational level of relations.

About Teresa La Porte
Teresa La Porte is Professor of International Communication of the Universidad de Navarra (Spain) and Visiting Professor of Intercultural Communication of the Communication Politique et Publique of the Universite Paris XII-Val de Marne (France). She is currently Visiting Professor at the USC School of International Relations and will be teaching a seminar on European Union Public Diplomacy in the Master of Public Diplomacy program. Prof. La Porte has also been distinguished with a Fulbright grant. Most of her research is related to the analysis of international political news in the media and strategies of public diplomacy. Currently her work is focused on the public diplomacy of non-state actors. She has participated as academic specialist in the project “A New Public Diplomacy for Spain” held by the Spanish think tank Real Instituto Elcano.


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