Published in Global Society, as part of a Special Issue on “Theorising the European Union as an International Security Provider: Actors, Processes, Outcomes and Impact”, my colleague Argyro Kartsonaki and I examine the EU’s responses to conflicts in the wider neighbourhood. Such conflicts within and between the “neighbours’ neighbours” have been on the EU’s foreign and security policy agenda for some time and offer a useful set of cases to examine rival claims in the existing literature about the extent to which the EU’S foreign and security policy is driven by human or European security imperatives.

In order to understand how and why the EU has responded to these conflicts, we initially present an overview of all conflicts among and between the neighbours’ neighbours, broken down first by sub-region and then by conflict type. We then discuss the EU’s responses to these conflicts and offer a comparative analysis, with a view to describing and explaining existing variation in terms of the EU’s responses and their impact. We find that the Union’s response is most in line with a human security approach in relation to those conflicts where it perceives to have the greatest interests at stake.

This article is an open-access publication.