Several armed conflicts in Europe’s immediate neighborhood, uncontrolled migration from/through zones of instability and jihadist terrorism have called new attention to the European Union’s (EU) crisis response policies. The 2016 EU Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy stated that “internal and external security are ever more intertwined: our security at home depends on peace beyond our borders” (page 7).

The research project COEUS explores the perceptions, ideas and preferences of policymakers, experts and the general public concerning different crisis responses. The overarching questions are:

  • Why is the EU opting for particular policy responses as answers to specific crises?
  • How different think European policymakers about conflict management policies than other groups (the public in EU member states, experts, NGOs, politicians etc)?
  • How different think policymakers in the EU, different countries and international organizations about conflict management policies?

During the first stage of this project, an online survey will be carried out among academic experts, policymakers and other stakeholders. Are the preferences of policymakers a reflection of the opinions of the broader public? Do experts and policymaker overlap in their assessment to specific crises scenarios? Do public officials in different institutions look differently at similar conflict situations? These are some of the questions, these surveys seek to answer. The second stage of COEUS will be semi-structured interviews with officials and other stakeholders to get more in-depth information about their reasoning to come to certain policy preferences.

COEUS’ host is the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (IBEI), an inter-university institute of the five public universities in the Barcelona metropolitan area and CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs). The project is funded by the Agency for the Management of University and Research Grants (AGAUR) of the Catalan Government. It will take two years (October 2018-September 2020).

The project´s name refers to Coeus, the Greek Titan-God of rational knowledge (his name meaning “query” or “questioning”) Coeus’ wife, Phoibe, was the goddess of the prophetic mind. Together they worked in the Greek mythology as the primal font of all knowledge.