This paper investigates how framing processes enable and influence heterarchical interaction between state and non-state actors in the field of European security governance, focusing on explaining the creation and institutional design of the European Institute of Peace (EIP). The establishment of the EIP in spring 2014 ended a four-year long debate about its potential added value, mandate and institutional relationship with EU bodies. While various actors inside and outside the EU's foreign policy system - including EU member states, the European Parliament as well as numerous NGOs and think-tanks - were involved in this process, the EIP was founded as an independent partner to the EU, implying a flexible "special relationship" with EU institutions. Combining a governance perspective with a framing approach, this paper proposes an innovative conceptual framework to explain the interaction of state and non-state actors in the field of European security governance. Focusing on the role of frame entrepreneurs and different framing strategies - diagnostic, prognostic and motivational framing - it argues that the emergence and institutionalization of the idea of creating the EIP can be explained via collective framing processes within a heterarchically organized advocacy coalition of EU member states, individual Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and specialized NGOs and think-tanks. The limited number of stakeholders participating in the EIP can be explained by effective counter-frames that interpreted the EIP as a duplication of already existing capacities and a potential competitor to the European External Action Service. Based on the results of the case study, the paper concludes that the framing approach adds considerable explanatory power to the concept of security governance and points to potential further research avenues emanating from this study.
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