Values, rights, and changing interests: The EU's response to the war against Ukraine and the responsibility to protect Europeans

G. Bosse*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)


Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the EU has taken dozens of decisions, on which agreement had hitherto been unthinkable due to differences between member states. A norms-based approach is used to better understand the EU's unexpected agreement on two key measures: the sanctions packages against Russia and the decision to allow Ukrainian nationals the right to live and work in the EU. Congruence among member states over the responsibility to protect Ukrainian civilians from atrocity crimes and war crimes played an important role, including the obligations to react (sanctions) and to prevent (refugee protection). EU actions arising from moral obligations based on rights-based norms have been linked closely to values-based norms pertaining to EU solidarity, identity, and ethical obligations vis-a-vis fellow Europeans. These preliminary findings matter as they suggest an inextricable linkage between rights-based norms and values-based norms to trigger effects on EU foreign policy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2099713
Pages (from-to)531-546
Number of pages16
JournalContemporary Security Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2022


  • Ukraine
  • Russia
  • war
  • European Union
  • values
  • responsibility

Cite this