Essay from the year 2005 in the subject Politics - International Politics - Topic: European Union, grade: 1,3, University of Edinburgh, course: The European Union in International Affairs, 30 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: The EU plays a multiplicity of roles in a range of policy areas in the international system1 and the global context is increasingly seen as the stage on which the Union must act.2 However, the EU is not a traditional global actor -it has a rather distinctive and unique international identity due to its institutional structure and decision- making procedures. Several theories have attempted to grasp this unique identity and are concerned with the question of how significant a global actor the Union is. The following paper assesses the utility of two specific theories- 'actorness' and 'presence'- for conceptualising the role of the EU in one particular foreign policy-area- humanitarian assistance affairs.3 Section one examines how the concept of 'actorness' can be applied to the policy-area of humanitarian assistance and evaluates the result of this analysis. The same method is used in section two that discusses the concept of 'presence'. The essay concludes by comparing and reflecting on the overall utility of the two concepts. 1 Bretherton and Vogler, 1999: 15. These EU-foreign policy areas mainly include trade relations, security and defence issues, development affairs, environmental issues and humanitarian assistance. The role of the EU varies from area to area. 2 Cremona, 2004: 553. 3 Humanitarian assistance affairs fall under the portfolio of the Development-Commissioner. However, it has to be emphasized at this point that this essay exclusively deals with humanitarian assistance. On development affairs for example see Holland (2004), Santiso (2002), Brenton (2003), Grilli (1993), Babarinde/Faber (2004) and Pernice/Thym (2002).