Bertelsmann Stiftung (ed.)

Loes Debuysere, Steven Blockmans

Europe´s Coherence Gap in External Crisis and Conflict Management

The EU’s Integrated Approach between Political Rhetoric and Institutional Practice

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Date of publication
54 pages, PDF


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The European Union (EU) aspires to play a part in conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict peacebuilding through civil and/or military operations, through stabilisation efforts, and by building resilience at home and abroad. To bring this ambition to fruition, EU institutions have gradually expanded their ‘comprehensive approach to external conflict and crisis’ (CA) to become a full-fledged ‘integrated approach to conflict and crisis’ (IA). In their most basic form, CAs seek coordination and coherence in responding to external conflicts and crises by adopting a system-wide ‘whole-of-government approach’ (WGA). In their more elaborate form, IAs have incorporated non-traditional security concepts, variously known as conflict transformation, (non-liberal) peacebuilding and human-security approaches. In their most expansive form, IAs may even be understood to apply to external action writ large. 

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