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Making the Case for Europe? An Exploratory Study of EU Consular Crisis Management Cooperation as a Means of EU Public Diplomacy

Sundholm, Mattias (2009) Making the Case for Europe? An Exploratory Study of EU Consular Crisis Management Cooperation as a Means of EU Public Diplomacy. In: UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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    Initially off to a slow start, European Union (EU) consular crisis management cooperation eventually developed as a response to exogenous factors. Given that guaranteeing the safety of one’s citizens is seen as one of the core responsibilities of the nation state, however, the EU’s Member States still seem reluctant to transfer this responsibility to the European level and the EU institutions. At times equated with propaganda, both the terminology and practice surrounding public diplomacy has received increased attention recently. Though not always labelled as such, public diplomacy efforts have gradually been stepped up by national foreign ministries and the EU institutions. Against the backdrop of this renaissance for consular affairs and public diplomacy, the current study examines EU action in the field of consular crisis management cooperation as a means of EU public diplomacy, potentially affecting the alleged (internal) lack of support for the project of an ever closed Union among the EU citizens, as well as serving the EU’s public diplomacy purposes vis-à-vis foreign audiences.On the basis of legal provisions, budget allocations and proven action thus far in the field of public diplomacy efforts related to EU consular crisis management cooperation, a number of conclusions are suggested: According to existing legal provisions, there is considerable scope for EU efforts in this field. Though it could potentially later be challenged by Member States and/or other EU institutions, the so-called institutional prerogative – which is often used as the legal basis for budgetary commitments in the field of information and communications by the European Commission – could be applied also to EU public diplomacy efforts in this area, i.e. (increasingly) funded through the Community budget. Though the enabling legal conditions are in place, and a number of budget lines exist that could be used to this end, to date a very limited number of initiatives have been realised. Looking at existing data regarding public opinion and EU consular cooperation, it seems that EU citizens (though to a varying degree, depending on the EU Member State and other demographical variations) would welcome an increased role for the EU in the area. Regarding public diplomacy, recent developments cannot be confined to the EU alone, but tend to be part of a broader trend which can be labelled the “societization” of traditional diplomacy, characterised by closer links between diplomacy and society. In terms of the limits of EU consular crisis management cooperation as a means of EU public diplomacy, constraints include the issue of responsibility, the distribution of credit and blame, national sensitivities, and differences in Member States’ resources and representation. Finally, arguing that the potential for European efforts in the field of consular crisis management as a tool of effective EU public diplomacy (both within the Union and outside) is great, it is surprising that not more attention is given to the area – especially in light of the Commission’s discourse on delivering tangible benefits to the EU’s citizens. To move from action as a mere response to exogenous factors to a situation where it is part of an EU policy of deliberate public diplomacy, the Union still has a long way to go.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > common foreign & security policy 1993--European Global Strategy
    EU policies and themes > External relations > conflict resolution/crisis management
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2009 (11th), April 23-25, 2009
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2013 17:45
    Number of Pages: 59
    Last Modified: 04 Jan 2013 17:45

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