22 Jul 2016

New Thrust for the CSDP from the Refugee and Migrant Crisis

Steven Blockmans

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Attempts to broach ‘fortress Europe’ have created a border management crisis for EU member states, and a humanitarian disaster of proportions not seen since World War II. In response, EU institutions and member states have given priority to security-driven (home affairs) and military concerns. The launch of the EU’s naval Operation Sophia signalled the start of a more proactive engagement to restore stability in the wider Mediterranean, and the new thrust given to the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) approximates measures adopted in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ).

As the objectives and mandates of the EU’s internal and external security activities become blurred, questions about the limits of the Lisbon Treaty will come into sharper focus. In this paper, the author argues that it is time to step up the comprehensive approach to EU external action and involve AFSJ elements and actors on a more structural basis. Only then will the indistinct boundaries between internal and external security become a continuum and enable a more effective handling of the security crises confronting the European Union.

Steven Blockmans is Head of EU Foreign Policy at CEPS and Professor of EU External Relations Law and Governance at the University of Amsterdam.