The Concept of ‘Resilience’ in EU External Relations: A Critical Assessment

Research output

Abstract

he 2016 Global Strategy (GS) made resilience central to the European Union’s (EU’s) external activities. However, many aspects of resilience were ambiguous. Three of these aspects are identified in this article: whether resilience is about risks or resources, whether resilience means stability or change, and what is the role of values. These ambiguities created a space for the policy work of EU bureaucracy. This work is examined in development and neighbourhood fields, and in relations with Russia. Documents’ analysis and semi-structured interviews reveal a difference in how three ambiguities were interpreted. Differences were identified among policy fields but not between EU institutions. These differences reflect the efforts of EU officials to preserve consistency in ‘their’ fields. This policy work undermines one important goal for introducing resilience in the GS, the enhanced coherence of EU external activities. Finally, the study revealed that some interpretations moved closer to the theoretical writings on resilience compared with the GS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-366
JournalEuropean foreign affairs review
Volume24
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

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resilience
document analysis
bureaucracy
Russia
interpretation
interview
resources
Values

Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

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title = "The Concept of ‘Resilience’ in EU External Relations: A Critical Assessment",
abstract = "he 2016 Global Strategy (GS) made resilience central to the European Union’s (EU’s) external activities. However, many aspects of resilience were ambiguous. Three of these aspects are identified in this article: whether resilience is about risks or resources, whether resilience means stability or change, and what is the role of values. These ambiguities created a space for the policy work of EU bureaucracy. This work is examined in development and neighbourhood fields, and in relations with Russia. Documents’ analysis and semi-structured interviews reveal a difference in how three ambiguities were interpreted. Differences were identified among policy fields but not between EU institutions. These differences reflect the efforts of EU officials to preserve consistency in ‘their’ fields. This policy work undermines one important goal for introducing resilience in the GS, the enhanced coherence of EU external activities. Finally, the study revealed that some interpretations moved closer to the theoretical writings on resilience compared with the GS.",
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AB - he 2016 Global Strategy (GS) made resilience central to the European Union’s (EU’s) external activities. However, many aspects of resilience were ambiguous. Three of these aspects are identified in this article: whether resilience is about risks or resources, whether resilience means stability or change, and what is the role of values. These ambiguities created a space for the policy work of EU bureaucracy. This work is examined in development and neighbourhood fields, and in relations with Russia. Documents’ analysis and semi-structured interviews reveal a difference in how three ambiguities were interpreted. Differences were identified among policy fields but not between EU institutions. These differences reflect the efforts of EU officials to preserve consistency in ‘their’ fields. This policy work undermines one important goal for introducing resilience in the GS, the enhanced coherence of EU external activities. Finally, the study revealed that some interpretations moved closer to the theoretical writings on resilience compared with the GS.

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