Making policies work

The comprehensive approach

ECDPM’s Security and Resilience and European External Affairs programmes work to enhance momentum in the policy discourse on how the EU institutions can work more effectively and act more meaningfully with EU member states to tackle mounting international conflict and crisis – the so-called ‘Comprehensive Approach’.

If ever there were a time when the EU needs to be more comprehensive and coherent in its international action, it is now – and not just in response to Ebola and the crisis in Ukraine.

The need for comprehensive and coordinated responses by the EU to address sustainable development, peace and security, especially in complex fragile situations, is widely accepted. However, despite progress in a number of areas. The EU’s track record in seeking agreement and implementing comprehensive approaches is a long history of unfinished business, postponed priorities and failed attempts.

The publication of the EU’s Communication on the Comprehensive Approach in December 2013 and follow-up Council conclusions created an enhanced momentum in the policy discourse. Many questions on connecting the various diplomatic, development and security actors involved remain unresolved as well as the extent to which guidance from Brussels is translated into effective action on the ground.

The Action Plan on the Comprehensive Approach, expected in 2015, could be the occasion to define how this is to be taken forward by EU institutions and member states.