Is the EU’s post-Lisbon crisis management model adequate to tackle current international security challenges at both the strategic and the operational levels? The Lisbon Treaty has introduced a number of innovations in the field of the EU’s crisis management which have the potential to reinvigorate the Union’s security actorness, both as a norm setter (model by being) and an operational crisis manager (model by doing). This paper will investigate the prospects for the EU to become a credible security actor in the 21st century in connection with its capacity to: (1) adapt the conceptual framework of its crisis management system to the current security scenario; and (2) implement effective action on the ground. In particular, this analysis takes into consideration three main developments in the global security environment: (1) the rise of new security-political challenges; (2) the evolution of the concept of security; and (3) the proliferation of non-state actors in the field of security.
The Winner is TAP: The EU’s Failed Policy in the South Caucasus, by Nona Mikhelidze
Between the two competitors for the delivery of Azerbaijani gas to Europe Nabucco West and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) the winner is the latter, a project designed to transport Caspian gas via Greece and Albania and across the Adriatic Sea to southern Italy. Yet the political objective of the Southern Corridor was to diversify gas supply to Europe and reduce the energy dependence of some EU member states on Russia. With TAP as the winner, it is questionable whether the EU has truly met these goals. The EU has failed to be a credible actor in the region, able to defend its interests by diversifying energy supplies, decreasing the energy dependence of some member states on Russia and contributing to regional security in the South Caucasus.
In recent years, the European Union (EU) and its Member States have tried to offer credible responses to the financial and economic crisis often outside the EU legal order and with a significant impact on the constitutional framework and on the institutional balance of the Union itself. The solutions found raise many legal concerns and may alter long-standing balances between institutions. Furthermore, they are clearly inspired by intergovernmentalism and principally conceived within intergovernmental structures like the European Council. In this context, the Commission still constitutes the last reliable driving force towards a genuine European project and it is called to play an extremely delicate role to safeguard the common interest of EU and of the Eurozone.
The EU’s premise in its engagement in the various conflicts besetting the South Caucasus has been its endorsement of the metropolitan state’s territorial integrity and thus its non-recognition of the de facto independence of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Within this framework, the EU’s governance initiatives in the South Caucasus have focused on the promotion of democracy. In the EU’s view, conflict resolution will c ome about in the long-run if Georgia and Azerbaijan become more attractive for the separatist entities. However, instead of real democracy promotion, what we have observed from the EU’s side has been the accommodation of local forms of governance.
EU Engagement with Local Civil Society in the Great Lakes Region, by M.Martín de Almagro Iniesta
The EU aspires to use a new generation, bottom-up framework for peacebuilding, in which respect for local identities, culture and rights trump national security, the market and law and order. However, this normative commitment has not materialized in EU peace operations in practice. These shortcomings derive from a gap between the definition of what constitutes local civil society and the practices concerning its involvement in EU policies. Improving the understanding of how local civil society can be a partner for peace for the EU is critical for the success of EU missions in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and EU Delegation tasks in countries such as Burundi.
The Democratic Legitimacy of the EU’s Economic Governance and National Parliaments, by C.Hefftler and W.Wessels
The Euro crisis is having a major impact on the EU as such and on its member states. A key dimension of it concerns the democratic legitimation by national parliaments of the measures taken to face the crisis. The role of the European Council and policy coordination in the European Semester challenge the ability of national parliaments to stay in control of national budgets and economic policy. This paper, which draws on comparative data concerning all 27 EU member states, considers whether national parliaments are further sidelined in the EU decision-making process or try to “fight back” against their loss of traditional competences.