Sten Widmalm, Thomas Persson and Charles Parker
In recent years the European Union (EU) has explicitly embraced the goal of protecting all its citizens. The expression of this goal can be found in the solidarity clause of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, which establishes a legal obligation that the EU and its Member States should assist each other when one of them is the object of a terrorist attack or a natural or human-made disaster. As a result of this aspiration, the EU has increasingly assumed a central role as a crisis manager. In this chapter we present the capacities that the EU has developed to deliver on these commitments and analyse the obstacles that impede these efforts. We also examine, with the help of survey data from the European Commission’s Eurobarometer, the expectations of citizens of EU Member States of the EU’s crisis management capacity. Finally, drawing on interviews with top officials from eighteen European civil protection services, we outline the challenges facing Europe’s crisis management capacity in light of the differences in trust and common norms among the EU’s crisis management authorities and the many different administrative cultures represented in these agencies. The chapter concludes with some reflections on the wider implications that should be taken into consideration as the EU works on further developing its crisis management capabilities.
Edited by Ulf Bernitz, Moa Mårtensson, Lars Oxelheim and Thomas Persson
Ulf Bernitz, Moa Mårtensson, Lars Oxelheim and Thomas Persson
The introductory chapter provides an overview of the great social challenge that the EU currently faces. The editors raise the question of what can be done to bridge the prosperity gap in Europe. First, they briefly describe the background: the social dimension of European cooperation and its historical development. Second, they identify the new social challenges that the Union faces in the wake of the Great Recession, the ongoing refugee crisis, and the Brexit referendum. Third, an analytical point of departure for examining these challenges is presented, consisting of an interdisciplinary approach that pinpoints a number of overarching problems and possibilities associated with the social dimension of European integration. Fourth and finally, the book’s chapters are introduced, and their key policy recommendations are summarized. The chapter concludes with the argument that much of the EU’s future relevance and ability to stay together depends on its capacity to counteract the prosperity gap and reverse the negative trend that emerged during the crisis.