Europe in the World

Reports and papers

The EU’s joined-up approach to security

29 Sep 2016 - 16:04
Bron: Stefan Gara/flickr

Between Robust External Action and Co-ordinated Compromise

The EU prides itself on being a “one-stop shop”: the only institution where member states can pool their economic, political and military instruments and capabilities. This ambition poses a serious challenge for the EU in co-ordinating its policies. In its new Global Strategy, the EU aims to work towards what is known as a “joined-up approach to security”, mainly due to the pressures of the ongoing migration crisis.

This report outlines the main options open to the EU for joining up its policies, taking the current migration crisis as a case study. Conclusions will be drawn against the background of a brief examination of earlier ambitious efforts to improve policy co-ordination, both in the EU and the US.

Author Peter van Ham concludes that the EU may have to acknowledge that drastic changes need to be made to avoid muddling through. Ultimately, (coalitions of) member states need to take the lead, offering the EU the opportunity to streamline its own instruments, institutions and policies in a more depoliticised setting. He further concludes that the EU does not only face tough institutional challenges but also major deep-seated problems, such as rising Euro-scepticism, the return of geopolitics and enduring economic malaise. This puts extra pressure on the EU (as well as member states) to make a joined-up approach to security work this time around.