- Diplomatic relations — Since World War II — Sovereignty — Governments
This chapter examines the unique characteristics of the European Union in conducting its external relations, including its limitations and complex division of responsibilities. The Union’s position on the international stage has frequently been seen as ambiguous. Its extensive common policies and legislation, and its extensive relations with third States and international organizations, can create the expectation that the European Union can or should act at the international level in a manner akin to that of a single State. However the Union can only act within the limits of the powers conferred on it by its Member States under the EU Treaties and the complex division of responsibilities amongst the Union’s own institutions. As such, dealing with the European Union at the international level can indeed be perplexing.