Making Sense of EU Comprehensive Security Towards Conceptual and Analytical Clarity

Carmen Gebhard, Per Martin Norheim-Martinsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


European leaders frequently vaunt the European Union's distinctiveness in adopting and pursuing a comprehensive approach to security. The EU's profile as an international actor is designed to span across all dimensions of security. As a result, its security policy portfolio involves a large number of institutional actors and policies that need to be coordinated. The ambition of the EU to provide security in a comprehensive manner raises challenges at the politico–strategic level, at the level of operational and policy planning and in day-to-day implementation. So far, the field is lacking an inclusive analytical framework for the analysis of providing security through a distinctively comprehensive civil–military, economic and political organisation. This article seeks to close this gap by providing suggestions for how the wide range of issues related to comprehensive security could be structured, and by framing the matter theoretically and with reference to existing conceptual work and empirical research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-241
JournalEuropean Security
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • comprehensive security
  • the Common Foreign and Security Policy
  • securitisation
  • security governance


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