In today’s extremely volatile international environment, the institutions of the European Union and its Member States need to effectively and sustainably harness all their tools in a joinedup external action. The Horizon2020 project ENGAGE contributes to advance this goal and answers how the EU can effectively and sustainably harness all of its tools in a joined-up external action, with an eye to meeting key strategic challenges and becoming a stronger global actor.

The overall objective of ENGAGE is to provide policymakers with a toolbox to improve the capacities and capabilities of the EU’s external action. More specifically, the project pursues the following five general objectives:

  • Analyse the main contextual challenges that the EU’s external action is facing, both those arising from the diversification of international relations and global governance and those originating from the acceptability of EU external action from the perspective of citizens and national decisionmakers.
  • Assess existing governance structures and policy processes, those that are foreseen in the Treaties but are yet to come into fruition (so-called “sleeping beauties”), and those that should be devised in relation to the multiple domains of the EU’s external action.
  • Examine the ways in which the EU can more effectively achieve a set of key goals, including a successful engagement with strategic partners, neighbouring regions, and conflict and crisis scenarios.
  • Formulate recommendations, presented via a White Paper, on how to accommodate multiple action domains, including traditionally internal policy areas, in a joined-up, coherent, sustainable, and effective external action.
  • Inform policymakers on the governance structures needed to ensure joined-up and sustainable EU diplomatic action and international cooperation.

Project consortium

ENGAGE brings together a consortium of 13 universities and think tanks from EU and non-EU countries that provides first-class academic expertise of scholars who cover the entire scope of the EU’s external action, involving many practitioners with vast experience in relevant governmental bodies. In addition, ENGAGE has an International Advisory Board made up of world-class experts, and chaired by former EU High Representative Javier Solana.

Work packages

Our project is based on 11 Work Packages (WPs). Two initial WPs will provide an analytical grip on the contextual hurdles, both international and domestic, that the EU faces in the implementation of its external policy. This will in turn inform the other core research WPs of ENGAGE, which are divided into two interconnected clusters. The first cluster will aim to revamp the governance architecture of CSDP, CFSP as a whole, and other dimensions of EU external action (including peripheral and sectoral diplomacies), while the second cluster will aim to improve the performance of the EU’s external action when engaging with strategic partners, its neighbourhood and conflict scenarios. The contextual WPs and the two clusters will converge in a strategic WP – the cornerstone of ENGAGE – that will produce a White Paper for Joined-up, Coherent, Sustainable, and Effective External Action. The responsibility for this WP lies with the Center for International Security at the Hertie School with all project partners providing support.