in: Gstöhl, Sieglinde / Simon Schunz (Hrsg.), The External Action of the European Union: concepts, approaches, theories: Red Globe Press, 157-172
Neofunctionalism, which primarily accounts for the dynamics of the European integration process, constitutes one of the main theories of European integration. However, it has rarely been applied systematically to the study of European Union (EU) external action. This chapter first recapitulates the evolution and main assumptions of neofunctionalism. It then proposes a neofunctionalist logic for explaining EU external action, building on four spillover mechanisms: functional, political, cultivated, and external spillover. To demonstrate how neofunctionalism can also be used for investigating the extension of the scope of EU external policies, the theory is applied to explain the EU’s initiation of the Belgrade–Pristina dialogue.