This new volume develops a conceptual framework for considering and evaluating the roles played by the EU in international politics, drawing upon the literatures of role analysis, international relations and European integration. It pays particular attention to five aspects of role analysis: role conceptions, origins of roles, role institutionalization, role performance and role impact. These form themes running through the volume and are dealt with in individual contributions as appropriate. It also presents fresh applications and empirical case studies that support the conceptual framework and demonstrate the uses of role analysis in relation to the EU and its international activities, and its capacity to inform investigation from different perspectives and standpoints. By taking this approach and by providing both conceptual and empirical argument, this book delivers an innovative perspective on the analysis of the European Union as an international actor, and on the ways in which EU actions are formed and have impact. It also establishes a research agenda based on rigorous development of the framework for role analysis, and demonstrates the ways in which this agenda might be furthered.