The European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, released a joint communication yesterday (which represents a “common understanding” between the two entities), detailing a “comprehensive approach to external conflicts and crises,” which aims to promote a more integrated look at trans-boundary security issues, including climate change. For example, the communication calls for:
Better linking policy areas in internal and external action, looking for example at energy security, environmental protection and climate change, migration issues, counter-terrorism, organised crime and global economic governance;
The joint communication is essentially strategic guidance for the other main bodies of the European Union – the European Parliament and the Council (the former made up of transnational MEPs, and the latter made up of EU member states) – encouraging the sui generis supra-national entity to make more informed connections between internal and external security threats, and to make use of all appropriate and available policy tools to address those threats. As stated on page three:
As global challenges continue to rise in number and increase in complexity (effects of climate change and degradation of natural resources, population pressures and migratory flows, illicit trafficking, energy security, natural disasters, cyber security, maritime security, regional conflicts, radicalisation and terrorism, et cetera) and as economic and financial resources remain under pressure, the case for a comprehensive approach, making optimal use of all relevant instruments – be they external or in ternal policy instruments – is now stronger than ever.
Though the foreign policy of the EU remains fragmented and generally unwieldy, this is a good start for addressing conflict and crises outside the EU’s borders, and an important step in building the EU’s effectiveness as an actor in the international security arena.