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ECPR 50th Anniversary Fund

Towards a Conflict Sensitive EU Crisis Response?

Conflict Resolution
European Union
Foreign Policy
Pernille Rieker
Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
Pernille Rieker
Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
Steven Blockmans
University of Amsterdam

As EU crisis response is a policy area under constant revision and improvement, it is crucial to take into account the many recent and ongoing initiatives and processes aimed at revising and adapting EU policies to shifting security contexts. Since the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, the establishment of the External Action Service in 2011 and the adoption of a comprehensive approach to crisis management in 2013, the EU has spent considerable time and energy on streamlining its approach and improving internal coordination. Ongoing conflicts and crises, from the conflict in Ukraine, to the rise of ISIS and the refugee situation in the Global South, have made the improvement of external crisis response capacities a top priority. The aim of this paper is twofold. First, it provides an overview of current EU crisis-response capacity. It describes the institutional framework and the decision-making processes, placing main emphasis on the capacity at the EU level and discusses how the EU deals with conflict sensitivity in its key documents. Second, it takes stock of how the Europen External Action Sercvice (EEAS) and the Commission have institutionalized lessons-learned mechanism and discuss the extent to which these mechanisms and practices incorporate the EU’s ambitions for a ‘conflict-sensitive’ and ‘comprehensive’ crisis-response approach.
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