Resilience as the EU Global Strategy’s new leitmotif: pragmatic, problematic, or promising?

W.M. Wagner, Rosanne Marrit Anholt

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A striking difference between the EU’s 2016 Global Strategy and its 2003 predecessor is the ubiquity of resilience as a new leitmotif, understood as the ability of states and societies to reform, thus withstanding and recovering from internal and external crisis. Resilience provides a middle ground between over-ambitious liberal peace-building and under-ambitious stability, (re)directs attention to local resources and practices, and is ambiguous enough to be acceptable to everyone. The Global Strategy’s leitmotif is an example of the rise and spread of resilience in international discourses about crisis management and humanitarian emergencies. Although there are risks inherent to the way in which resilience reframes risks and crises, its added value lies in its power as convening concept, opening up international organizations to new ways of thinking and working, and providing a common ground for engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-430
JournalContemporary Security Policy
Issue number3
Early online date22 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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