The European Union (EU) has promoted human rights in its external policy since the end of the Cold War. To achieve that aim, the EU has developed several diplomatic, political, and economic instruments. The EU prefers diplomatic instruments in conducting its external relations and its actions are based on dialogue and engagement. This has a great impact in the international arena in terms of promoting human rights and plays a key role in upholding human rights on a global scale. However, the EU has been criticized for the lack of effectiveness of its external human rights policy. Political and economic interests of the EU member states, difficulties in the consensus among EU states, the capacity of reciprocity of third countries, legality and consistency problems, and the lack of sufficient operational mechanism to evaluate, conduct and implement its human rights policy have all resulted in a less than effective external human rights policy. In addition, the EU’s external human rights policy has met with several ethical challenges, such as consistency, coherency, sovereignty, legality, credibility, and legitimacy. It is concluded that the external policy of the EU will continue to fluctuate between values, norms, and interests.
European Union, External Relations of the EU, Human Rights Policy, Normative Ethics, Ethical Challen