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1 February Cristian Nitoiu

Abstract

In their ideal self-representation states and other international actors perceive themselves as promoting (and embodying) a certain model or set of values. The 'ideal self' is the benchmark that states aspire to and against which their actions get judged. The article focuses on the way the EU has pursued its 'ideal self' in the post-Soviet space. The main claim is that the pursuit of its 'ideal self' has influenced both the content and the effectiveness of the EU's policies in the post-Soviet space. Empirically the article focuses on how concepts inherent to the 'ideal self' have affected the development and effectiveness of the EU's approach towards the eastern neighbourhood. The concepts which are defined by 'ideal self' refer to: status, power, respect, hierarchy, authority, legacy and international actorness. The article relies on official documents and statements, secondary data from media and academic reports, together with participant observations from interviews conducted with European experts and policymakers between 2011 and 2016.