Conference proceedings from the Crisis Management in Europe conference

9 March 2010

As modern crises and disaster grow more complex, international cooperation to manage them becomes more crucial. The "European Union Crisis Management" research group held a conference on 28 January 2009 in Stockholm to examine the European Union's role in managing cross-border crises.

The research group, including researchers from the Swedish National Defence College, Louisiana State University, and the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, presented their past research findings and invited over 160 scholars and practitioners to comment on their future research agenda. The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agencies, which funds the research group and helped to organize the conference, played a central role in discussions through its Director General, Helena Lindberg.

Helena Lindberg, Cecilia Malmström and Sten Tolgfors

The conference welcomed the participation of two members of the Swedish government, Cecilia Malmström, Minister for EU Affairs, and Sten Tolgfors, Minister for Defence. Both speakers emphasized the fact that modern crises – from terrorism to avian influenza – test the cooperation capacities of national governments. They pointed to the EU as a crucial venue for crisis management cooperation and noted the importance of better relations between the national and supranational level.

The theme of "coherence" permeated the discussions, both in terms of organizing national governments more effectively for EU cooperation and in terms of ensuring the EU institutions coordinated their growing, but fragmented, responsibilities for coordinated crisis management in Europe. The Swedish Presidency of the EU, which takes place in the second half of 2009, promised to target these challenges as part of its agenda.

Workshops

Following plenary discussions, the conference then moved to workshop format. Three parallel workshops focused on different topics, each led by a different research group member. The first workshop (led by Arjen Boin) examined the problems and prospects of early warning for crises at the international level. The second workshop (led by Mark Rhinard) focused on supranational crisis management as a type of "public good" requiring special forms of cooperation. The third workshop (led by Magnus Ekengren) discussed the opportunities and challenges to implementing the Lisbon Treaty's Solidarity Clause.

Magnus Ekengren, Mark Rhinard and Arjen Boin

As the Swedish Presidency of the EU approaches, conference participants agreed that more must be done to prepare the EU for more effective and coordinated crisis management. As research shows, the EU's role in protecting the security and safety of citizens has grown dramatically over the past decade, but there is more to be done. Policy strategies need to be created, organizational coherence improved upon, and operational efficiencies ensured. As the EU continues to move forward in its increasing but haphazard role, more attention to improving coherence and effectiveness is critical. That task is no longer an option; it is a necessity that must be addressed in the practical context of the Swedish Presidency and in the academic context of the European Union Crisis Management Group.

Conference proceedings

Download the full conference proceedings (PDF-document, 618 kB)

Presentations

Saved as pdf files, open in a new window.

Helena Lindberg, Director General for the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (PDF-document, 38 kB)

Cecilia Malmström, Minister for EU Affairs (PDF-document, 47 kB)

Sten Tolgfors, Minister for Defence (PDF-document, 46 kB)

Robert M. Whalley, Senior Fellow, The International Institute for Strategic Studies (PDF-document, 53 kB)

Magnus Ekengren, Swedish National Defence College (PDF-document, 53 kB)

Mark Rhinard, Swedish Institute of International Affairs (PDF-document, 40 kB)