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The EU’s comprehensive approach towards security: the Lisbon Treaty and “smart power”




The European Union (EU) has increasingly become a comprehensive security actor. With the development of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), including the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) as a reaction to the failure of the EU to act during the wars in Yugoslavia/Western Balkans in the 1990s, the EU has a wide range of instruments for crisis prevention, crisis management as well as post-crisis intervention at its disposal. Observers typically agree that “hard power” is no longer sufficient to address the complex security challenges of today’s world while the EU, often criticised for only utilising “soft power”, is now able to exercise “smart power”. Through a comprehensive approach, facilitated by the Lisbon Treaty, the EU can now use the various instruments at its disposal, such as diplomacy, development aid, humanitarian assistance, trade, sanctions, international cooperation and crisis management capabilities in a joined-up manner. This mix of tools and instruments is helping the EU to achieve the aim set out in its European Security Strategy: “a secure Europe in a better world”.