Learning Processes in EU Civilian Crisis Management

Anna Halonen

The civilian crisis management forms an important part of the EU's security policy and its peacebuilding model that is used to respond to the conflicts outside its external borders. The EU model of peacebuilding is an interesting case to study as the EU is relatively new actor in this field but has rapidly increased its efforts and become an important security policy actor especially in its neighbourhood areas. Although EU crisis management missions have been relatively widely researched, the great majority of these studies have focused on evaluating individual missions without much reference to any theoretical framework. Over the past decade the EU peacebuilding operations have become larger and more complex as well as having more ambitious goals and at the same time the evaluations of these operations have become increasingly critical. The paper aims to enhance our understanding on EU peacebuilding by analysing how learning and knowledge-building takes place within these operations. It also aims to examine what role learning has played in the development of the missions focusing in particular to the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo - EULEX. The learning aspects are analysed through a framework on organizational learning that examines cognitive, social and normative aspects of knowledge-building and learning. Although the role of learning in explaining change has often been recognised in the political research, there has been no major breakthrough that would have brought learning theories to the centre stage. However, this paper argues that learning approach can give a complementary explanation on the development of the EU civilian crisis management that has been usually been analysed from the approaches that emphasis material and power based explanation. The research is based on the documentary analysis and expert interviews with the officials in the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the personnel of the crisis management missions.

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