Join Berthold Rittberger in the next ‘Europe in the World’ seminar series
Over the past decades, the European Union (EU) has confronted multiple crises, which have required swift political responses from EU institutions and member states. While there is ample literature about the EU’s internal responses to the ‘polycrisis’, we possess much less systematic knowledge on how the EU interacts with external actors and institutions to address crisis challenges. Since the EU does not act in an institutional vacuum, but is part of wider, issue-specific regime complexes, it has cultivated diverse relationships with other international organisations (IOs) across a multitude of issues. We assume that during periods of political crisis marked by conditions of threat, uncertainty, and urgency, IOs – including the EU – have strong incentives to complement internal crisis responses with external ones. We argue that crisis-induced interactions among IO-dyads can come in different forms: pooling, division of labor, competition and co-existence. The incidence of each of these four external crisis interactions among IO-dyads is influenced by the degree of mandate and membership overlap on the one hand, and the extent of goal convergence in response crisis-related policy challenges on the other hand. We offer an empirical mapping and analysis of the different external crisis interactions by drawing on the following crisis interactions among the EU and other IOs: pooling among the EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to address the sovereign debt crisis; division of labor among EU and NATO in response to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine; competition among the EU and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the context of the migration crisis; co-existence among the EU and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in the context of managing the financial fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.