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EU Peacebuilding: Concepts, players and instruments

43 pages, pdf
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EU Peacebuilding: Concepts, players and instruments


Volume: 43 pages, pdf


The goal of this chapter is to look at the concept of peacebuilding, in general but also in the context of the European Union (EU), as well as to consider the key players and instruments engaged in various facets of EU peacebuilding. As will be seen, the notion of peacebuilding remains one that is notoriously difficult to pin down in terms of not only meaning but also differentiation from other similar, and linked, terms such as conflict prevention and post-conflict stabilisation. The absence of a peacebuilding strategy per se suggests that it is easiest to think in terms of peacebuilding as synergy rather than strategy since it links together different threads from conflict prevention, crisis management, peacemaking and post-conflict stabilisation. However, the lack of a clear definition or accompanying strategy means that the final objective or outcome is often challenged by efficiency, coordination and sustainability issues.

This contribution will first look at the multiplicity of existing concepts and definitions of peacebuilding and try to clarify the understanding of peacebuilding from an EU perspective. The overview of concepts and definition will consider some of the difficulties in understanding the notion of peacebuilding not only within the EU but also at the more general international level. It will be argued that the EU’s understanding of peacebuilding is multi-faceted and that this, in turn, has implications for the manner in which peacebuilding is implemented in the context of the EU’s external relations. Drawing from this conceptual overview, we shall then set out to identify and portray the players, instruments and policies that embody the EU’s peacebuilding. Particular attention will be paid to the distribution of role and competences in an attempt to portray the current peacebuilding architecture within the EU. The role of the respective Pillars of the Union will be examined and although there are obvious complications for peacebuilding that stem from the EU’s complicated architecture, it is nonetheless too simplistic to attribute the challenges in the peacebuilding domain to this alone. It will therefore be argued that the sheer scope and complexity of peacebuilding, as understood in the EU context, implies formidable coordination between not only the Pillars (institutional consistency) but also within the Pillars themselves (horizontal consistency) as well as with the relevant international partners.