Preventing and reducing conflicts

The European Union is at its core a peace project.

According to Article 3 of the Lisbon Treaty: "the Union's aim is to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples."

It is only natural that conflict prevention and peacebuilding are central elements of the EU's foreign policy.

Peace is not only understood as the absence of armed violence. To pursue peace, the EU also addresses the root causes of conflicts, by promoting democracy, good governance, human rights, sustainable development, and human security.

The EU places great emphasis on developing comprehensive responses to conflict in non-EU countries, using the tools of prevention and mediation.

The Union's engagement has demonstrated that diplomacy and mediation can deliver results, even in the most challenging international situations.

European Parliament

The European Parliament has always been an important player in defining the EU's policy on conflict prevention and mediation.

At present Parliament is preparing a report on "Building EU capacity on conflict prevention and mediation" that would build on the EU's Global strategy for foreign and security policy. The report considers the tools and instruments the EU can use, in cooperation with international and regional actors, to prevent and mediate in conflicts in countries outside the Union.

The European Parliament uses its own powers - including its powers of political oversight and its budgetary authority - to strengthen the EU's role in these areas, including by:
  • strengthening the capacity of the European External Action Service (EEAS) in the field,
  • deciding on budget lines for mediation and dialogue within the EU's Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP),
  • supporting the initiatives of EU Special Representatives.

Mediation and Dialogue Activities

Although a relatively new actor in the field of conflict prevention, mediation and dialogue, the European Parliament plays important role in supporting EU foreign policy priorities through soft power tools like parliamentary mediation.

The European Parliament's own institutional culture, based on consensus building and compromise, has inspired and positively influenced dialogue and efforts to develop trust in partnering parliaments.

The EU Neighborhood and the Western Balkans are focal regions for the Members of the European Parliament working in this field.

Parliamentary mediation and dialogue are mainstream instruments of the European Parliament's Comprehensive Democracy Support Approach (CDSA).

The European Parliament's activities aim to:
  • promote inter-party dialogue and consensus building,
  • prevent election-related violence,
  • support conflict prevention and peace processes, and
  • encourage parliamentary oversight of the security sector.
The European Parliament has developed two flagship initiatives in the field:
  • the Jean Monnet Dialogue for Peace and Democracy, which facilitates inter-party dialogue and consensus-building in partner parliaments outside the EU, and
  • the Young Political Leaders programme, which encourages peaceful dialogue and building long-term confidence and cooperation between young leaders in non-EU countries.