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Briefing Notes (series)

What EU Comprehensive Approach? Challenges for the EU Action Plan and beyond

Briefing Note 71

October 2014

Faria, F. 2014. What EU Comprehensive Approach? Challenges for the EU Action Plan and beyond. (Briefing Note 71). Maastricht: ECDPM.

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Key messages

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, EU’s track record in seeking agreement and implementing comprehensive approaches is a long history of unfinished business, postponed priorities and failed attempts.

Taking a comprehensive approach is inevitably a complex and difficult task, even more so at the EU level. Understanding the constraints and difficulties faced by the EU in the past is critical to inform current efforts towards an Action Plan on the Comprehensive Approach that helps define the “what”, and the “how” in ways that are realistic and strengthen the EU’s added value and the effectiveness of its external action.

The new Juncker Commission commitment to advance team work and ensure greater policy coherence and political drive for EU action are an opportunity to address essential political, organisational and operational challenges for the EU. 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

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