Under the guise of resilience: The EU approach to migration and forced displacement in Jordan and Lebanon

Rosanne Anholt*, Giulia Sinatti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Building “resilience” to insecurity and crisis is high on the European Union (EU) agenda. EU uptake of this buzzword is especially significant with regard to migration and forced displacement. Uncertainty, however, remains about what resilience is, how it translates into practice, and what its implications are. In this article, we analyze EU humanitarian and development policies and provide empirical insight into resilience-building in Jordan and Lebanon. We show that EU resilience thinking highlights strengthening the humanitarian-development nexus, responsibilizing crisis-affected states, and framing refugees as an economic development opportunity for refugee-hosting states. We also find that how resilience translates into practice depends on the local context and interests of the actors involved. For the EU, resilience-building is primarily a refugee containment strategy that could jeopardize the stability of refugee-hosting states. We conclude that resilience-building in Jordan and Lebanon may ultimately threaten rather than safeguard the security of Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-335
Number of pages25
JournalContemporary Security Policy
Issue number2
Early online dateDec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2020



  • European Union
  • Resilience
  • development
  • forced displacement
  • humanitarian aid
  • migration

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