Theme 3.1: Crisis Management Capacity in the European Commission, Council of Ministers, and Council of the European Union

This theme:

  • Develops a critical assessment of the effectiveness and legitimacy of Commission, European Council, and Council of the European Union’s transboundary crisis management capacity
  • Considers the role of the European Commission, in which much crisis management capacity, expertise and leadership potential can be found; explores the relatively recent role of European Council in providing political direction to EU crisis management efforts
  • Identifies crisis capacities found in the Council of the European Union, which in cases of transboundary crises is attempting to take an overall lead
  • Focuses on the way in which political leadership is exercised within the three institutions in terms of crisis recognition, decision-making and communication
  • Assesses the balance between crisis response effectiveness and the legitimacy of supranational crisis management.

In a world of boundary-spanning crises, the European Union plays a key crisis management role but we lack a full understanding of what crisis capacities its institutions bring to the table. This sub-project investigates three central institutions in any crisis management exercise: the Commission, which holds many of the tools and resources; the Council of the European Union, which plays a strong role in overall decision-taking; and, the European Council, which over the past decade is assuming a larger leadership role. Institutional capacities need to be better measured in terms of how they can contribute to preparation, response, and recovery efforts. The leadership potential intrinsic to each institution, and the leadership landscape between the three, require further investigation. Additionally, the various sources of legitimacy of supranational crisis management must be assessed to understand how capacities and leadership serve to underpin, or to detract from, the EU’s legitimacy in serving citizens under extreme events.

The database of Crisis Management Capacities is available at the European Societal Security Research Group website:

Theme co-ordinator: Mark Rhinard, Stockholm University



Conference Papers:

The-EU’s legitimacy as a crisis manager Presented at ECPR Standing Group on the European Union (SGEU) Conference, Trento, Italy, 16 June 2016 and UACES 46th Annual Conference, London, 5-7 September 2016

The TransCrisis research themes:

Themes: Introduction

Theme 1: Understanding transboundary crisis management

Theme 2: Studying political leaders in the financial crisis

Theme 3: Political leadership, EU institutions and transboundary crisis management capacity

Theme 3.1 Crisis Management Capacity in the European Commission, Council of Ministers, and Council of the European Union

Theme 3.2 Crisis Leadership in the European Parliament

Theme 3.3 Political Leadership in EU agencies

Theme 4: Interaction between EU-national administrations in times of crisis

Theme 4.1 Political Leadership and Crisis Management Regimes

Theme 4.2 Managing the Immigration Crisis

Theme 5: Political leadership, national politics, and transboundary crisis management

Theme 6: Political leadership and the ‘new normal’: developing transboundary crisis leadership capacity