The European Union
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The European Union

Facing the Challenge of Multiple Security Threats

Edited by Antonina Bakardjieva Engelbrekt, Anna Michalski, Niklas Nilsson and Lars Oxelheim

This book addresses the challenges presented to the EU by an increasingly complex security environment. Through the interdisciplinary approach taken, researchers in economics, law and political science identify a range of problems relating to the multiple security threats that the EU faces, and present new means to address them within their respective fields of expertise. The contributions provide accessible and policy-relevant analyses of crucial challenges to the EU’s ability to function as a political union in the years ahead.
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Chapter 5: The EU’s civilian crisis management capacity and the challenge of trust

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.

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