Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Forum: How to implement the EU Global Strategy

 

Conflict prevention and peacebuilding reside at the heart of the EU’s external action. Both the Lisbon Treaty and the new Global Strategy (EUGS) assign a special responsibility to the EU to promote and preserve peace, prevent conflicts and strengthen international security. A quick glance at the security map of the Union’s outer periphery and further afield, however, makes the immensity of the challenges evident, especially at a time when internal political cohesion seems weak. Given the climate of insecurity which currently seems to dominate discourse within Europe, there is an increasing demand for highly visible, short-term responses based on a very narrow definition of security. This may unintentionally exacerbate conflict risks and undermine the EU’s efforts to tackle the root causes of violence. There is, therefore, a great need for more sensitivity to the potential for conflict in EU external action. At a meeting of the Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Forum at CEPS on September 29th, speakers Erik de Feijter (Deputy PSC Representative and CivCom delegate at the Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the EU), René van Nes (Deputy Head of Division, CSDP Coordination & Support at the EEAS), Anne Penfrat (Senior Policy Officer at EPLO) and Erwan Fouéré (Senior Associate Researcher at CEPS) generally agreed that adopting a conflict prevention approach to EU external action is crucial since it means developing a more strategic and political view that can enable policy-makers to anticipate better the consequences of the EU’s actions on conflict dynamics and plan accordingly. It would help minimise the risk of inadvertently exacerbating existing tensions and could enhance the long-term peace-building impact of the EU’s efforts. The event was organised by CEPS and the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO) in the context of the EU-CIVCAP project in Brussels.