In 2014 the European Union (EU) experienced an unprecedented migratory pressure on its southern external border in the Mediterranean Sea. Over the following years, more than one and a half million people would enter the EU irregularly at this border with most entries being facilitated by human smuggling networks. In response to this security problem, the EU, among other things, established a joint border control operation (Joint Operation Triton) and a naval operation (European Union Naval Force Mediterranean – Operation Sophia). This thesis examines the extent to which these two EU security operations can be considered as strategic responses on the part of the EU to the migration crisis and explains why this is (not) the case. For this purpose, it introduces the concept of an actor’s strategic capacity and develops an analytical
framework for empirical assessments hereof. It applies this framework to the two operations and finds that the EU has displayed a fairly high degree of strategic capacity in Triton and a very low degree of strategic capacity in Sophia. In order to explain why this is the case, the thesis examines the relationship between governance structure and strategic capacity in the two operations in a comparative manner. The key finding is that the nature of, and differences between, the formal structures that regulated and enabled the planning, establishment, implementation, evaluation and adaption of the two operations can explain why the EU has displayed a higher degree of strategic capacity in Triton than in Sophia.
|Place of Publication||Roskilde|
|Number of pages||269|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|
|Series||FS & P Ph.D. afhandlinger|