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


Stockholm University
Department of Economic History
Universitetsvägen 10 A, plan 9
106 91 Stockholm

Mark Rhinard (Stockholm University) discusses theme 3.1

Sarah Backman (Stockholm University) explores crisis management capacities across EU institutions

Mark Rhinard (Stockholm University) explains research findings on crisis management capacities across EU institutions

Theme 3.1 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