Over the past decade the EU has increasingly taken on a role as international security provider that extends well beyond the geographical scope of its membership. This is obvious in the wide range of military and civilian crisis management missions that the EU has undertaken, but is also identifiable through a range of other policies, such as the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Union’s development assistance, that have at least in part become more security focused.
Yet, the role of the EU as an international security provider remains both under-theorized and weakly developed from a comparative perspective. Significant gaps in the literature exist, including a lack of a comprehensive theory-based analysis of existing EU policy instruments, rigorous theory-informed cases in which the EU has been involved or where its involvement was invited and/or might have been expected but did not occur, as well as a systematic cross-case analysis of EU policies and their impacts on the ground.
This special issue analyses the EU’s role as an international security provider in a comprehensive way with the aim of providing robust theoretical grounding for the understanding of the making and implementation of EU security policy. The guest editors’ introduction will develop a framework of analysis that will cover the actors involved in the policy making process, the dynamics of this process itself, its outcomes (concrete strategies and policies) and their impact. A range of contributions applying this framework will examine the relevance of, and apply, existing theories of international relations/international security and foreign policy analysis to the specific case of the EU, investigate empirically how particular policies are formulated and implemented, and analyze in comparative case studies the impact and effectiveness of the EU as an international security provider.
Specifically, our contributors engage with theoretical challenges in the study of the EU as an international security provider (Pohl), the EU-internal dimension/internal-external nexus of the process of policy making (Smith and Shepherd), outcomes of this process in three key external security policy areas and their impact (enlargement/ENP—Whitman and Wolff, conflict management—Davis, and development—Orbie and Del Biondo), and implementation issues (Rye Olsen).
Synthesizing these contributions, the guest editors’ conclusion will offer reflections on the outline of a mid-range theory of the EU as an international security provider, which will bridge the traditional gap between accounts of EU policy-making, policy implementation and policy impact.