How the EU is facing crises in its neighbourhood: Evidence from Libya and Ukraine

Roman Petrov, Pernille Rieker, Francesco Strazzari, Kateryna Ivashchenko-Stadnik, Luca Raineri, Alessandra Russo

This working paper explores how the EU has reacted to the security crises erupting in its neighbourhood. Among the analyses of the crisis response mechanisms progressively put in place by the different EU institutions, in fact, the neighbourhood area deserves special attention given the EU’s ambition to build a security community – through processes of security community building – which extends to both its east and south (Rieker 2016). With a view to exploring whether such a strong commitment has been backed by adequate means and policies, the paper examines two cases in particular, i.e. the crises in Ukraine and Libya. At the time of writing, these crises are still unfolding, and their outcome is utterly uncertain. As a result, the aim of this working paper is not to assess the crisis response comprehensively, including outcomes and impacts. Instead, when dealing with a particular crisis, our aspect of analysis focuses in particular on the output level, i.e. the decisions on policy objectives and strategies leading to the adoption of such objectives in the given contexts; this inevitably includes considering those inputs and decision-making processes that inform such outputs (Batora et al. 2016). Building on an extensive literature review, desk analysis and semi-structured interviews with EU officials, the paper seeks to provide an empirically rich and in-depth account of the crisis dynamics in Libya and Ukraine, and how they have been framed, processed and addressed by the EU through various tools of crisis management. Each case analysis is introduced by a note on the evolving interactions between the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and crisis management, with comparative remarks in the conclusions.