Herbert Sailer


The comprehensive approach as a holistic access to crisis management and/or risk avoidance has increasingly gained in importance, but nevertheless a common understanding of ideas is still lacking to a great extent. The European Union uses its possibilities in the crisis region Horn of Africa to bring to bear its various instruments of crisis management in a coordinated way in the sense of a comprehensive approach. Subsequently, in a nutshell these instruments of the European Union are presented by the example of the Horn of Africa. As a homogeneous definition of the comprehensive approach does not exist, and the different institutions have different understandings of this concept, the depicted table presents the range as well as the varying nature of the points of view. Thus, the comprehensive approach represents an ideology in the sense of an idea or concept holding true of the particular institution rather than a concrete method. In this connection, the view of NATO is rather narrow, only fostering and demanding interaction between the military and other civilian players. The approach of the EU is much wider. Apart from the integration of the military, a closer interlocking of the civilian instruments of crisis management in particular becomes the focus of attention, such as the coordinated cooperation of the European Commission with the European Foreign Service. Thus, a civil-civil component is added to the civil-military one. All these different approaches are based upon one single realization: The current and future challenges of security politics cannot be countered with isolated action any longer, and the aspect of “cross-linked security” is increasingly gaining in importance. Here we can also mention the so-called “3D-Approach”, meaning diplomacy, development, and defence. The European Union represents a unique institution, which - due to its existing capacities - is in the position to bring diplomatic, military, humanitarian and economic instruments into play effectively. In spite of all these possibilities, the approach of the European Union is to be integrated into a more widely set approach of measures of single states and other international players. In the end, for the military as a part of Common Security and Defence Politics this means using the opportunities of the comprehensive approach, because isolated military approaches will not be successful any longer. On the level of Brussels it seems to be decisive in a military sense to put a lot of time and energy into the decision making processes in time (the emphasis is here), by active articulation of possible military contributions to this concert of instruments for the particular situation, and, after the decision has been taken, to ensure the embedding of the military contributions into the comprehensive approach.