Norm Advocacy Networks: Nordic and Like-Minded Countries in EU Gender and Development Policy
Summary, in English
This article investigates the informal networks of Member States that are claimed to be the drivers of EU gender and development policy. The aim is to highlight the negotiation strategies used in gender and development negotiations and to link these to network characteristics. I categorise the characteristics of the Nordic and the like-minded groupings, relying on network theory and investigate their modes of influence. The article is based on interviews with officials at the Permanent Representations and EU institutions in Brussels. My results demonstrate that the Nordics and the Like-Minded Countries constitute informal networks with frequent interaction. Network members share information and coordinate initiatives. The findings show a preference for gradual entrapment and framing rather than shaming and exclusion. The choice of strategies can be linked to network characteristics: the like-minded network is non-formalised and open, and as the ambition is to spread the norms of the like-minded also to reluctant actors, network participants prefer gradual entrapment and traditional diplomatic initiatives before confrontation. Norm promotion normally occurs in concentric circles negotiations, mirroring the layered structure of the network. This article contributes to the literature on informal governance in EU foreign policy by highlighting key strategies used in intra-EU policy networks.