Article on the Rhetoric of the President of the European Commission



Societal Security team member Kajsa Hammargård has published an article Journal of European Public Policy together with Eva-Karin Olsson on the rhetoric of the president of the European Commission in crisis situations.


Despite efforts made to improve communication, the Commission is still facing difficulties getting across its messages. Scholars have stressed how both structural and personal characteristics impede the Commission’s ability to communicate. These obstacles are particularly troublesome in connection to crisis situations when the European Union receives the most media attention and scrutiny. At the national level, research has shown that political actors tend to increase their use of charismatic rhetoric during crisis events as a way of gaining and sustaining legitimacy and credibility. In this study we explore whether the same pattern can be seen at the European level by examining the European Commission during the financial and eurozone crisis. The main findings of the study demonstrate the opposite; that is, as the crisis got worse and as member states got increasingly engaged in its management, the Commission’s rhetoric became less charismatic.


Read the full article here.

Migration and the European Refugee Crisis – Presentation by Elin Jakobsson

Elin Jakobsson held a presentation on Migration at the Swedish International Institute of International Affairs on 15th December 2015. The presentation focused on the European Refugee Crisis and the laws and regulations that apply for individuals seeking international protection. The presentation was part of a theme day for high school students interested in international politics.

Have a look at the presentation (in Swedish) here.

Call for applications for the PhD project ‘The European Union as Crisis Manager: An Institutional Perspective’


The Department of Political Science of Leiden University invites applications for the PhD project ‘The European Union as Crisis Manager: An Institutional Perspective’

The wider project team of which this PhD will be part, analyzes the EU’s growing crisis and disaster management capacities. It assesses those capacities in light of the EU’s unique system of supranational governance. Moreover, it aims to identify institutional pathways towards the efficient and legitimate development of EU crisis management capacity.

The PhD position is a four-year AIO position within the Department of Political Science at Leiden University. The project will be supervised by Prof. dr. Arjen Boin.

Deadline for applications is December 1, 2014. Read here for more information on the position and the application process.

PhD student position in Economic History with specialization in International Relations

The Department of Economic History of Stockholm University announces a position in its doctoral studies program, specialized in International Relations and enrolled in the Stockholm University Graduate School of International Studies (SIS). For this position, candidates are sought with an interest in global security questions, broadly defined. This includes questions of how global security is conceived and pursued by through international organizations to ensure mutual security and safety in the world. Empirical foci could include ‘old’ security challenges (e.g. territorial incursion) as well as ‘new’ security challenges (threats to environmental, economic, human, and societal security). The doctoral student’s research studies will be part of the department’s international relations research agenda, including the dynamics of global security cooperation. Research studies with a historical and/or global political economy angle will also be welcomed.

Deadline for applications is 10 June 2014. Read here for more information on the position, requirements, application, etc.

New Study: Making Sense of EU Sense-Making

One of the greatest challenges to managing modern crises is foresight. How can we see a crisis coming? Recent history is full of examples of failed foresight: September 11, the Tsunami disaster, food safety scandals, and the Arab Spring. In a globalized world where crises originate and travel across borders with ease, the challenge is multiplied by the inefficacy of national approaches. Rarely does one state have the capacity or the ability to spot the “next one” coming. Cooperation with neighboring states is critical — not only to spot a possible oncoming crisis but also to make sense of what is happening.

The European Union’s foresight capacities are poorly known. Recent research shows the EU is increasingly assisting member states in managing “transboundary crises”, but little is known about its ability to help member states makes sense of unfolding crises. A recent book by the Societal Security Research group aims to improve our understanding. Using an analytical framework familiar to crisis management scholars, the study examines all the EU’s tools and information systems relevant to crisis management. Those systems are analyzed in terms of their ability to help detect, analyze and communicate oncoming crises. The results are impressive.

Eighty-four systems were found and inventoried. These range from severe weather warnings to political conflict predictors. The “Early Warning and Response System” for pandemics and other health threats is an example. It links national capitals, compiles information, and looks for clues from multiple sources that, when analyzed together, helps to identify a possible outbreak. The Integrated Political Crisis Response system combines crisis information with EU decision-makers to quickly address a crisis. These and many other systems are examined in depth in the new book available here, and presented in a short article by the EU’s Institute for Security Studies here. It is clear that even member states of the EU are not aware of the full extent of the EU’s capacities to foresee future crises.

The book identifies a number of problems, however. The crisis warnings systems operate at different levels of functionality – some are simple websites, while others are 24/7 staffed units – which generates mixed expectations amongst national officials. Attempts are being made to link these systems up, through the ARGUS “system of systems”, for instance, but the process is slow. Since modern crises cascade across sectors, it is not clear whether different warning systems can communicate effectively with one another. More research is needed, but the EU’s growing role in helping to manage crises in a complex, globalized world is worth keeping track of.

Report from the Policy Dialogue on the European Union as Crisis Manager

The European Policy Centre and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency held a policy dialogue in Brussels on 21st of November, discussing the future of the EU as a transboundary crisis manager. Keynote speaker was Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, who gave an engaged speech about EU’s role in crises. A distinguished panel; Florika Fink-Hooijer, Director – Strategy, Policy and International Co-operation, Erik Windmar, Member of Cecilia Malmström Cabinet, Directorate General for Home Affairs of the European Commission, Helena Lindberg, Director-General of the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency and Antonio Missiroli, Director of the European Union Institute for Security Studies, pursued the discussion reflecting on recent developments and looked forward.

The event was opened by Rosa Balfour, Senior Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre, and. Magnus Ekengren and Mark Rhinard, authors of the recently published book ‘The European Union as Crisis Manager’, moderated the discussions.

Read the full report from the event here.