Understanding EU Crisis Decision-Making: The Case of Chechnya and the Finnish Presidency

10 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2004

See all articles by Raimo Lintonen

Raimo Lintonen

Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA)

Abstract

Why did the European Union accept a limited policy risk by adopting sanctions against a difficult target, Russia, in the Chechnya conflict and what does this case tell about the EU's crisis management practice? The explanation of the decision is based on problem framing, the exertion of power and the justifications of decision-making. The analysis shows that occasionally the Union may adopt a bold policy, if a situation is framed as a grave crisis, a strong leadership of large members emerges advocating a firm response and pressures of public opinion preclude passivity; in addition, the policy is considered justified by groupthink based on anticipation, by institutional arguments as well as lessons learnt, which are likely to lead to stronger commitments. Yet the policy is likely to be a bounded one because of constraining values and goals, previous institutional commitments and practices, countervailing policy lessons and rational recognition of the Union's limited influence. Moreover, a bold policy may prove to be inconsistent over time. As a rule the pivotal role of large EU members, established practices as well as the decentralisation and consensus-seeking tendencies combine to limit the Union's crisis response to a restricted and supporting diplomatic and economic role. The ongoing efforts to enhance the EU's crisis management capacity are yet to change significantly these habitual patterns.

Suggested Citation

Lintonen, Raimo, Understanding EU Crisis Decision-Making: The Case of Chechnya and the Finnish Presidency. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=517204

Raimo Lintonen (Contact Author)

Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) ( email )

c/o Embassy of Finland
Box 443
Pretoria 0001
South Africa

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