Assessing the EU’s Joint Communication on the Comprehensive Approach: Implications for EU Crisis Response and Conflict Prevention


On 11 December 2013, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission published their Joint Communication on ‘The EU’s Comprehensive Approach to external conflict and crises’. Long-awaited in academic and policy circles, the 12-page document builds on a variety of aspects already flagged up in the EEAS mid-term review, but offers for the first time an official EU position paper on the often elusive concept of the EU’s ‘Comprehensive Approach’. This GGI Briefing Paper provides a critical analysis of the Joint Communication and assesses its proposals in the context of the EU’s on-going post-Lisbon institutional transformations and policy advances in the field of early warning, conflict prevention and crisis response. The paper argues that important progress has been made mostly at the EU- internal level of the comprehensive approach, namely in the fields of institution-building, the development of early warning indicators and the facilitation of information-gathering and information-flows. Yet, the external dimension of the EU’s comprehensive approach (i.e., the EU’s cooperation with key international and regional organizations) remains woefully underdeveloped and needs to be addressed urgently in parallel to internal reforms.

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