Quest for coherence: a comparative analysis of EU crisis management in Africa
This thesis explores the factors that explain varying degrees of coherence in European Union (EU) crisis management and draws implications for its role as an international security actor. The analysis starts from the assumption that coherence is a function of competing and conflicting interests and norms. The influence and interaction of these factors across governance levels are viewed through two theoretical lenses: liberal intergovernmentalism and sociological institutionalism. Derived hypotheses are evaluated through a comparative case study design, focused on three instances of crisis management in Africa, namely Libya (2011), Somalia (2011-2012), and Mali (2012-2013). The analysis traces the activities and interaction of EU institutional actors and member states, with a focus on France, the United Kingdom (UK), and Germany. It suggests that the degree of coherence in EU crisis management is contingent on the congruence of domestic economic and electoral interests, as well as national threat perceptions. But it also depends on the extent to which EU-level coherence norms resonate with national norms on the use of force and preferred modes of multilateral cooperation. The study identifies scope conditions for the interaction of interests and norms: if economic and electoral stakes are high and calculable, interest-based calculation prevails. If, instead, decision-makers are faced with low stakes and uncertainty, embedded national norms are more likely to shape their behaviour. The Union thus represents a rather unpredictable security actor, whose multi-level coherence depends on the context-specific balance between domestically defined interests, stakes, and salient norms.