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Managing Transboundary Crises: What Role for the European Union?

Arjen Boin, Mark Rhinard
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2486.2008.00745.x 1-26 First published online: 1 March 2008


The nation-state faces an increasing number of what we refer to as “transboundary threats.” A transboundary threat is characterized by the potential to cross geographical and functional boundaries. These characteristics outstrip the capacity of nation-states and national bureaucracies that were designed to deal with more classic threats. The institutional challenge, we argue, is to build effective transboundary systems for managing these complex threats. In this essay, we ask what role the European Union can play in such an endeavor. We document the EU's growing crisis management and security capacities and offer an initial assessment of these capacities. We surmise that the EU will play a significant but rather circumscribed role, one which reflects the EU's unique system of supranational governance.

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