Enhancing the EU's Transboundary Crisis Management Capacities: Strategies for Multi-Level Leadership (TransCrisis)

Project status: 

The project aims to:

  • advance our understanding of crisis management capacities across institutions within a multi-level governance setting
  • contribute to debates in the world of practice appropriate governance arrangements in the light of transboundary crises, especially in relation to EU institutions
  • promote public debate about transboundary crises and what citizens might expect from crisis leadership in a multi-level system.

Transboundary crises are at the core of the 'new normal' that characterises politics and policy-making in Europe. The financial crisis and the ongoing debates about the governance of the Eurozone have highlighted the interdependencies among member states, and crises such as the horsemeat scandal, have pointed to the complexities of international production chains, and the limits of existing oversight procedures. Other crises, such as the Icelandic ash cloud, floods, oil spills, let alone geo-political crises have illustrated that crises usually do not stop at political boundaries. In a world where politics has lost its boundary control, the importance of managing transboundary crisis points to the critical role that the European Union can play. However, this realisation comes at a time of growing scepticism regarding the effectiveness and legitimacy of the European Union, and a re-nationalisation of politics.

To advance our understanding of the capacities and limits affecting crisis management and leadership in the European Union and to develop high-impact policy recommendations, this project focuses on a number of distinct components, ranging from (i) the role of European political leaders, their capacities and their responsiveness to public opinion, (ii) the crisis management capacities of EU institutions, and (iii) the interaction between the EU and national political-administrative systems in managing crises.

TransCrisis explores different dimensions of European transboundary crisis management:

  1. Understanding Transboundary Crisis Management (Crisisplan; Leader: Arjen Boin): This project develops a framework for crisis leadership in the context of the European Union. This framework will inform all TransCrisis projects.

  2. Political Leaders in the Financial Crisis (University of Utrecht; Leader: Femke van Esch): This project utilises computer-based analysis to assess European political leaders' speeches during the financial crisis and how these speeches respond to changing public moods.

  3. Political leadership, EU institutions and Transboundary Crisis Management Capacity. This part of the project investigates the institutional landscape of the EU institutional architecture.

  4. Crisis Management Capacity in the European Commission, Council of Ministers, and Council of the European Union (University of Stockholm, Leader: Mark Rhinard): This project considers the institutional resources that are available to these institutions in order to provide political leadership in the context of transboundary crises.

  5. Crisis Leadership in the European Parliament (ThinkTank Europa, Copenhagen; Leader: Maja Rasmussen): This project focuses in particular on the informal agenda-setting power of the European Parliament as the only directly elected body in the EU in crisis management.

  6. Political Leadership in EU agencies (IBEI, Barcelona; Leader: Jacint Jordana): Through a survey and case studies, this project explores the role of non-majoritarian EU agencies in transboundary crisis management.

  7. Political Leadership and Modes of Governance. This dimension focuses on the interaction of EU and national political and administrative systems in transboundary crisis management.

  8. Political Leadership and Crisis Management Regimes (CARR; Leader: Martin Lodge): This project looks at different domains to explore the interaction between EU and national institutions and how diverse national settings may influence transboundary crisis management responses.

  9. Managing the Immigration Crisis (University of Catania; Leader: Fulvio Attina): This project focuses on one particularly salient aspect, immigration, to consider how the EU interacts with an increasingly volatile 'near abroad'.

  10. Political Leadership, National Politics, and Transboundary Crisis Management (Central European University; Leader: Nick Sitter): This project considers how the acquis (i.e. existing Treaty commitments) and Copenhagen criteria are being monitored and enforced in the light of evidence that national politics are becoming increasingly critical of EU integration, and that existing commitments are coming under growing challenge. The project focuses in particular on gender, corruption, and the treatment of ethnic minorities.
Principal Researcher: 
Nick Sitter
Agnes Batory
Joanna Kostka
Andrea Krizsan
Violetta Zentai
Project Administrator: 
Borbala Varga
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Coordinator
Crisisplan BV (CPlan)
Universiteit Utrecht (UU)
Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals (IBEI)
Universita degli Studi di Catania (UNICT)
Stockholms Universitet (SU)
Taenketanken Europa (ThinkEuropa)
Center for Policy Studies (CPS)
Administrative Information
Funding body: 
European Commission Horizon 2020 Program
Apr, 2015 - Mar, 2018
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