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Ian Manners, photo.

Ian Manners


Ian Manners, photo.

European [security] Union : from existential threat to ontological security


  • Ian Manners

Summary, in English

The past ten years have seen the steady escalation of attempts to
securitise the EU which, for good or for bad, are now beginning to
succeed. Across Europe the EU is fast becoming a convincing reason for
groups to mobilise in protest and action - from Copenhagen to Nice to
Gothenburg the EU has become a synonym for ‘threat’. As this paper will
explore, the securitisation of the EU is occurring as it begins to be
represented as a threat to ontological security, and eventually existential
security, in the lives of Europeans and non-Europeans. But how best to
think about the European [security] Union as it attempts to balance the
headline security concerns of conflicts on its border with the structural
security concerns of its citizens. This thinking involves questioning the
very nature of the security the EU is attempting to secure through a
series of reflections on the many dimensions of security, the ontopolitical
assumptions of differing metatheoretical positions, and finally arguing the
need to desecuritise the EU.

Publishing year






Document type

Working paper


Copenhagen Peace Research Institute (COPRI)


  • Political Science


  • European Union
  • European [security] Union
  • existential threat
  • ontological security
  • ontological insecurity




  • Ontological Security in the European Union