Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Crisis-Induced Leadership: Exploring the Role of the EU Commission in the EU–Jordan Compact

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The EU–Jordan Compact (hereafter Compact) has been identified as being a groundbreaking, comprehensive approach to global refugee protection. Thus far, research on this underexplored case has mainly focused on the effects of the Compact. The policy process leading to the adoption of the Compact, as well as the motivations of the EU (i.e., the main donor), remain blackboxed. This article explores how the migration crisis affected the EU Commission’s ability to create coordinated, strategic action in external policy. It does so by tracing the internal EU negotiations and developing a causal model that explains how the Commission could overcome silos and efficiently draft a policy proposal linking the issues of migration and trade. The analysis is based on 13 original in-depth interviews with EU representatives. The article contributes to crisisification theory by presenting a mechanism that explains how the Commission can make use of crises. The Commission created cohesion by reframing the crisis, identifying the relevant policy tools with which to address it, and by reframing the responsibilities of the relevant directorate-general. Furthermore, by utilizing the urgency of the crisis, the Commission enabled rapid policy drafting and created an explicit linkage between refugee policy and trade policy. This linkage provided the member states with the motivation to adopt the proposal as a solution to the ongoing migration crisis.

Keywords:  crisis management; crisisification; European Union; foreign policy; international negotiation; Jordan; migration policy; refugee


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© Karin Vaagland. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.