Resilience in the EU's foreign and security policy

15-06-2016

The migratory pressure with which the European Union is struggling is yet more evidence that distance or the natural borders inherent in seas, mountains and deserts are of little significance when people are confronted with challenges like conflict, fragility or failure of governance. The scale of conflicts, natural hazards, water shortages and state collapse suggests that things will only get worse – unless a new policy paradigm is effectively implemented. Resilience – understood as the capacity of different layers of society to withstand, to adapt to, and to recover quickly from stresses and shocks – has gradually emerged as an answer to the growing complexity of the international security environment. In the EU context, the concept of resilience combines different policy areas: humanitarian aid, development assistance, disaster-risk reduction, climate-change adaptation, conflict prevention and peacebuilding. As a relatively new addition to EU jargon, the aim of building societal resilience still needs to be translated into tangible, practicable measures. This briefing complements an earlier briefing, Risk and resilience in foreign policy, published in September 2015.

The migratory pressure with which the European Union is struggling is yet more evidence that distance or the natural borders inherent in seas, mountains and deserts are of little significance when people are confronted with challenges like conflict, fragility or failure of governance. The scale of conflicts, natural hazards, water shortages and state collapse suggests that things will only get worse – unless a new policy paradigm is effectively implemented. Resilience – understood as the capacity of different layers of society to withstand, to adapt to, and to recover quickly from stresses and shocks – has gradually emerged as an answer to the growing complexity of the international security environment. In the EU context, the concept of resilience combines different policy areas: humanitarian aid, development assistance, disaster-risk reduction, climate-change adaptation, conflict prevention and peacebuilding. As a relatively new addition to EU jargon, the aim of building societal resilience still needs to be translated into tangible, practicable measures. This briefing complements an earlier briefing, Risk and resilience in foreign policy, published in September 2015.