Internal & External Security and EU Security Actorness: Comprehensive or Contradictory?

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


With the 2009 Stockholm Programme claiming that ‘internal and external security are inseparable’, the paper examines the implications of the blurring of the traditional internal-external security divide for the EU as an international security actor. The central argument of the paper is that the threats identified in the EU’s external (ESS) and internal (ISS) security strategies overlap considerably and traverse both geographic and bureaucratic boundaries; they are, as Boin & Rhinard (2008) conceptualise them, transboundary. This creates significant friction when formulating and implementing policy as EU institutions and capabilities mirror the traditional Westphalian internal-external security dichotomy. In particular, bureaucratic turf wars and civil-military tensions are substantial hurdles to the EU’s aspirations of being a comprehensive international security actor. While the Lisbon Treaty sought to improve both horizontal and vertical security coordination, across a range of issues (crisis management, organised crime, WMD proliferation, and energy security) progress has been patchy. If the EU cannot provide its member states with ‘added value’ then its utility and legitimacy as an international security actor is undermined.

The paper examines the conceptual and policy-relevant implications of this changing EU security discourse for theorising the EU as an international security actor. It aims to provoke new modes of thinking about the nature of the security challenges facing the EU. This fresh approach will help to (re)shape ideas about the type of security actor the EU could or should become and its conceptualisation as a comprehensive international security provider.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013
EventECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops 2013 - Mainz, Germany
Duration: 11 Mar 201316 Mar 2013


ConferenceECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops 2013
Period11 Mar 201316 Mar 2013


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