REPORT on building EU capacity on conflict prevention and mediation

11.2.2019 - (2018/2159(INI))

Committee on Foreign Affairs
Rapporteur: Soraya Post

Procedure : 2018/2159(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  


on building EU capacity on conflict prevention and mediation


The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other UN human rights treaties and instruments,

–  having regard to the principles and purposes of the UN Charter,

–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights,

–  having regard to the 1975 Helsinki Final Act of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and all its principles, as a cornerstone document for the European and wider regional security order,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,

–  having regard to the UN Security Council’s resolutions on conflict prevention and mediation, as well as those on women, peace and security, and on youth, peace and security,

–  having regard to the Council’s Concept on Strengthening EU Mediation and Dialogue Capacities, of 10 November 2009 (15779/09),

–  having regard to the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy presented by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) Federica Mogherini on 28 June 2016, and to the first report on its implementation entitled ‘From Shared Vision to Common Action: Implementing the EU Global Strategy’, published on 18 June 2017,

  having regard to its recommendation of 15 November 2017 to the Council, the Commission and the EEAS on the Eastern Partnership, in the run-up to the November 2017 Summit[1],

–  having regard to its recommendation of 27 June 2018 to the Council on the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly[2],

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2017/2306 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2017 amending Regulation (EU) No 230/2014 establishing an instrument contributing to stability and peace[3],

–  having regard to the Proposal of 13 June 2018 of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, with the support of the Commission, to the Council for a Council Decision establishing a European Peace Facility (HR(2018) 94),

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0075/2019),

A.  whereas promoting international peace and security is part of the EU’s raison d’être, recognised by the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize, and is central to the Lisbon Treaty;

B.  whereas the EU is committed to implementing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and subsequent updates, and the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2250 and subsequent updates;

C.  whereas the EU is one of the biggest donors in support of conflict prevention and peace building through its external assistance instruments;

D.  whereas the EU, as a key contributor to international organisations, a core aid donor and the world's largest trading partner, should take a leading role in global peacebuilding, conflict prevention and the strengthening of international security; whereas conflict prevention and mediation should be articulated as part of a comprehensive approach combining security, diplomacy and development;

E.  whereas cooperation is necessary with regional organisations such as the OSCE, which, in its 1975 Helsinki Final Act, stipulates, among others, the principles of the non-use of force, territorial integrity of states, equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and whereas these organisations play a key role in conflict prevention and mediation;

F.  whereas the prevention of violent conflict is fundamental in addressing the security challenges facing Europe and its neighbourhood and for political and social advancement; whereas it is also an essential element of effective multilateralism and it is instrumental to achieving the SDGs, specifically Goal 16 on peaceful and inclusive societies, access to justice for all and effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels;

G.  whereas continued EU support to civil and military actors in third countries is an important factor in preventing recurrent violent conflict; whereas sustainable and lasting peace and security are inseparable from sustainable development;

H.  whereas conflict prevention and mediation should ensure the maintenance of stability and development in those states and geographical areas whose situation represents a direct security issue for the Union;

I.  whereas prevention is a strategic function which aims to ensure effective action ahead of crises; whereas mediation is another tool of diplomacy that can be used to prevent, contain or resolve a conflict;

J.  whereas internal and external security are increasingly inextricably linked and the complex nature of global challenges requires a comprehensive and integrated EU approach to external conflicts and crises;

K.  whereas a stronger interinstitutional approach is required in order to ensure that the EU is able to develop and to implement its capacities to their full potential;

L.  whereas the EU Global Strategy, political statements and institutional developments are welcome signs of the commitment of the VP/HR to prioritising conflict prevention and mediation;

M.  whereas the external financing instruments provide a significant contribution in support of conflict prevention and peacebuilding;

N.  whereas transitional justice is an important set of judicial and non-judicial mechanisms focusing on accountability for past abuses as well as the establishment of a sustainable, just and peaceful future;

O.  whereas Parliament has taken a prominent role in parliamentary diplomacy, including mediation and dialogue processes, drawing on its ingrained culture of dialogue and consensus building;

P.  whereas violent conflict and war have a disproportionate impact on civilians, particularly women and children, and put women at greater risk than men of economic and sexual exploitation, forced labour, displacement, detention and sexual violence such as rape, which is used as a tactic of war; whereas the active participation of women and young people is important for conflict prevention and peacebuilding as well as in the prevention of all forms of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence;

Q.  whereas it is essential to include and support the active and meaningful participation of civil society and local actors, both civilian and military, including women, minorities, indigenous peoples and young people, when promoting and facilitating capacity and confidence building in mediation, dialogue and reconciliation;

R.  whereas conflict prevention, peacebuilding and peace keeping efforts are frequently underfunded, despite policy commitments at EU level, which has knock-on effects on the capacity to promote and facilitate action in these areas;

1.  Encourages the Union to further prioritise conflict prevention and mediation in the framework or in support of existing agreed negotiating formats and principles; underlines that this approach is delivering a high degree of EU added value in political, social, economic and human security terms globally; recalls that conflict prevention and mediation actions contribute to asserting the presence and credibility of the Union on the international scene;

2.  Recognises the role played by civil and military missions carried out by the common security and defence policy (CSDP) in maintaining peace, avoiding conflicts and strengthening international security;

3.  Calls on the VP/HR, the President of the Commission and the President of the European Parliament to set joint, long-term priorities in the area of conflict prevention and mediation, which should become part of a regular strategic programming exercise;

4.  Calls for long-term peacebuilding addressing the root causes of conflict;

5.  Calls for the enhancement of the current architecture to support the EU’s priorities as described below;

6.  Calls for conflict-sensitive and people-centred approaches which put human security at the core of EU engagement in order to achieve positive and sustainable results on the ground;

7.  Invites the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Commission’s services dealing with external action to present a yearly report to Parliament on the progress made in implementing EU policy commitments on conflict prevention and mediation;

On enhancing the EU’s institutional capacities for conflict prevention and mediation

8.  Supports the more coherent and holistic engagement of the EU in external conflicts and crises, considers that the integrated approach to external conflicts and crises constitutes the added value of the Union’s external action and that all means must be implemented as rapidly as possible in order to clarify EU responses at each stage of the conflict and to make this integrated approach more operational and more effective; recalls in this context the norms and principles of international law and the UN Charter, and expresses support for existing negotiating frameworks, approaches and principles; reiterates that each conflict should be viewed independently;

9.  Stresses that this capacity building should enable Member States to identify priority geographical areas for conflict prevention and mediation actions, and facilitate bilateral cooperation between European countries;

10.  Calls for the establishment, under the authority of the VP/HR, of an EU high-level advisory board on conflict prevention and mediation, with the aim of setting up a comprehensive pool of experienced senior political mediators and conflict prevention experts to make available political and technical expertise at short notice; believes that a pool of experts covering reconciliation and transitional justice is also needed;

11.  Calls for the appointment of an EU Special Envoy for peace to chair the EU high-level advisory board, in order to promote coherence and coordination across the institutions, including in their engagement with civil society, to improve the exchange of information and lead to increased and earlier action;

12.  Calls for the establishment of other interinstitutional mechanisms such as task forces for specific conflict prevention situations;

13.  Calls for the establishment of a dedicated Council working group on conflict prevention and mediation, emphasising EU’s strong commitment to peace and stability in its neighbouring regions;

On the European External Action Service

14.  Welcomes the establishment of a dedicated EEAS ‘Conflict prevention, Peace building and Mediation Instruments Division’ and the development of tools such as the Early Warning System and horizon scanning; calls for investments to further develop such tools;

15.  Calls for more systematic gathering, management and dissemination of relevant knowledge in formats that are accessible, practical and operationally relevant for staff across the EU institutions;

16.  Calls for further capacity development on gender-sensitive conflict analysis, early warning, reconciliation and conflict prevention for in-house staff, mediators and other experts, as well as for third parties, engaging with the EEAS and including civil society organisations;

On the European Commission

17.  Recalls the growing need for conflict prevention in addressing the root causes of conflict and in achieving the SDGs, with a particular focus on democracy and human rights, the rule of law, judicial reform and support for civil society;

18.  Highlights the fact that all EU interventions in violent and conflict-affected areas need to be conflict and gender sensitive; calls for immediate action to embed these aspects in all relevant policies, strategies, actions and operations, entailing a greater focus on the avoidance of doing harm, while maximising the EU’s contribution to achieving long-term conflict prevention and peace-building objectives;

On the European Parliament

19.  Underlines the role of the Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group (DEG) and its lead MEPs as the operational body for coordinating mediation and dialogue initiatives and welcomes new initiatives such as the Jean Monnet Dialogue for peace and democracy (using the historic Jean Monnet House in Bazoches, France), activities on election-related violence, and inter-party dialogue and consensus-building, as well as the Young Political Leaders’ programme, and recommends that these should be developed further as key instruments of the European Parliament in the area of mediation, facilitation and dialogue; welcomes the decision of the DEG to build on the success of the Jean Monnet Dialogue process with the Macedonian Sobranie by extending the Jean Monnet Dialogue’s methodology throughout the countries of the Western Balkans;

20.  Welcomes the partnership with the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada in the format of the Jean Monnet Dialogues, which has the aim of building consensus among political factions and parties in the Verkhovna Rada and, most importantly, of transforming the political culture towards a modern European parliamentary approach based on democratic dialogue and consensus building;

21.  Welcomes the conclusions of the fifth Jean Monnet Dialogue, which took place from 11 to 13 October 2018 and where steps were taken concerning support for the implementation of the Association Agreement; recognises the request for the European Parliament to work with the Commission to facilitate a dialogue with key stakeholders from the Verkhovna Rada and the Government of Ukraine on improving the effectiveness of the Verkhovna Rada in its role in relation to the implementation of the Association Agreement;

22.  Welcomes the new tri-partite initiative of the Speakers of the Parliaments of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia to establish a regional parliamentary assembly as an important platform for regional dialogue on strategic issues including the implementation of Association Agreements and for responding to key security challenges including hybrid war and disinformation; considers Parliament’s support for this regional parliamentary dialogue to be an important sign of its commitment to the region in the face of common regional security challenges;

23.  Recognises its growing role in the political mediation processes; highlights, in this respect, the joint initiative of the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations and three mediators of the European Parliament, Mr Kukan, Mr Vajgl and Mr Fleckenstein, in supporting the party leaders in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in overcoming the political crisis through the adoption of the 2015 Przino Agreement; confirms its readiness to build on this example of close interinstitutional cooperation with the Commission and the EEAS by stepping up its engagement to strengthen political dialogues and reconciliation throughout the Western Balkans and the wider neighbourhood;

24.  Calls for further development of the Young Political Leaders’ programme in the context of the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda, based on UN Security Council Resolution 2250, as well as for the continuation of the excellent cooperation with the VP/HR’s regional initiative for the Mediterranean under the Young Med Voices programme;

25.  Considers that the High Level Youth Dialogue ‘Bridging the gap’ provides a space for dialogue among youth representatives and young members of parliaments from the Western Balkans, which is important in supporting a culture of cross-party dialogue and reconciliation as well as fostering the European perspective of the countries in the region;

26.  Recommends that the existing parliamentary training and coaching programmes available for Members of the European Parliament, particularly those appointed as mediators or Chief Observers, as well as training programmes for third country parliamentarians, political parties and staff, be further developed, including those on gender and youth aspects, also in coordination with structures in Member States which have developed expertise in this field;

27.  Considers that Parliament’s capacities could be further developed with the appointment of a vice-president responsible for coordinating mediation and facilitation of dialogue activities, who would act in close cooperation with the DEG;

28.  Underlines the role of European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize in raising awareness about conflicts around the world; calls for an increase in the prize money awarded in the next Parliamentary term;

29.  Recognises the need for Parliament, in support of overall EU efforts, to institutionalise its procedures on mediation; calls for the strengthening of parliamentary diplomacy and exchange activities, including through the work of parliamentary delegations;

30.  Underlines the long-standing close cooperation between Parliament and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in the area of elections and support for democracy; calls for the extension of this cooperation into the area of mediation and dialogue;

On women, peace and security – enhancing gender capacities in EU conflict prevention and mediation

31.  Calls for the implementation of full gender equality and for particular efforts to ensure the participation of women, girls and young people and the protection of their rights across the conflict cycle, from conflict prevention to post-conflict reconstruction, in the context of EU conflict prevention and mediation activities;

32.  Calls for all exercises in cooperation, training and intervention to be gender sensitive; welcomes the EU initiatives in this regard, as well as its active contribution to the next Gender Action Plan, and the new EU Strategic Approach to women, peace and security;

33.  Calls for the inclusion of expertise on gender, including gender-based violence and conflict-related sexual violence, in all stages of conflict prevention, the mediation process and peacebuilding;

34.  Calls for the EU to take a leading role in the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions on youth, peace and security, and the integration of the principles enshrined therein in EU conflict prevention and mediation activities;

35.  Calls for all cooperation, training and interventions to be sensitive to and informed by the needs and aspirations of young women and young men, keeping in mind the differentiated ways in which violent conflict impacts their lives and futures and the valuable contributions they can make to preventing and resolving violent conflict;

On enhancing the role and capabilities of civil society organisations in the EU’s approach to conflict prevention and mediation

36.  Considers that the role of civil society organisations should be taken into account in the EU’s overall approach and its priorities for capacity development;

37.  Underlines the importance of confidence building measures and people-to-people contacts in conflict prevention and resolution;

38.  Calls for consultations with civil society organisations, especially those specialised in women’s rights and minorities’ human rights, when establishing and implementing EU programmes and policies on peace, security and mediation;

On financial and budgetary resources available for EU conflict prevention and mediation

39.  Takes the view that growing challenges demand higher appropriations for conflict prevention and the provision of dedicated staff capacity;

40.  Stresses the need for sufficient and earmarked financial resources to be made available for the EU’s conflict prevention and mediation actions under the next multiannual financial framework (2021-2027);

41.  Invites the VP/HR to provide Parliament with an update on the EEAS budget line dedicated to conflict analysis and conflict sensitivity, early warning, mediation support and the future priorities in this field;


°  °

42.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Presidents of the Commission and the Council, the Commission Vice-President / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the EEAS, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the Commission, the OSCE, the UN Secretary-General, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.


The European Union is at its’ core a peace project, thus is it only natural that conflict prevention and peace building are central elements of its’ foreign policy. According to the Lisbon Treaty, the EU aims to promote peace (Title I, Article 3-1), and draws its’ understanding of peace from its own values and principles.

These principles translate into foreign policy goals inspired by a comprehensive definition of peace, which includes not only security and stability (such as absence of armed violence), but also addresses the root causes of conflict by promoting democracy, good governance, human rights, sustainable development, and human security. In its’ essence it is saying that peace goes hand in hand with the safeguarding the life and wellbeing of every human being in every aspect of their life, and the way to achieve this is to create security built on human rights and human security, not by militarisation.

General comment 30 of the UN committee on CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) reminds us that women’s experiences are often excluded as not relevant for predicting conflict, that women’s participation in conflict prevention is low, and the low participation of women in institutions working on preventative diplomacy. Also the EU recognises that “women’s under-representation in mediation processes and peace negotiations, as well as the lack of gender expertise in mediation teams seriously limits the extent to which women’s experience of conflict, and consequent needs for justice and recovery, are addressed within these processes” (The 2009 EU Concept on mediation and dialogue).

When women and minorities are not included in the work on conflict prevention, it will lack fundamentally important information and aspects. Only by an inclusive representation of women and by using a gendered analysis of conflict, we will be able to design accurate responses and reach sustainable peace. Women’s agency, voice and capacities as well as an intersectional gender analysis, are critical to dialogues, for us to formulate better policies and to reach equitable peace agreements. We have seen it in various contexts such as Libya, Yemen, Nigeria and Colombia. In fact, we have seen it everywhere else in the world.

As the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom puts it: “The Women, Peace and Security Agenda has a transformative potential. It is a powerful tool for moving from exclusive to democratic decision-making, from gender inequality to gender justice and from conflict and violence to sustainable peace”.

The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda is now recognised internationally, but there are still great challenges for its’ implementation. The EEAS acknowledges that addressing gender issues in conflict prevention and mediation requires knowledge and expertise on gender in both specific issues as well as concerning the whole peace process (Factsheet – EEAS Mediation Support Project Women’s Participation and Gender). Another key issue is, of course, to put the commitments into real action, and to support them with earmarked funding and resources. Here the EU can take a strong and leading role in the implementation of the WPS Agenda, which also means to take a leading role in promoting global peace.


Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Michèle Alliot-Marie, Bas Belder, Goffredo Maria Bettini, Elmar Brok, Klaus Buchner, Arnaud Danjean, Georgios Epitideios, Michael Gahler, Iveta Grigule-Pēterse, Sandra Kalniete, Andrey Kovatchev, Eduard Kukan, Arne Lietz, Barbara Lochbihler, Andrejs Mamikins, Ramona Nicole Mănescu, David McAllister, Francisco José Millán Mon, Clare Moody, Javier Nart, Pier Antonio Panzeri, Demetris Papadakis, Julia Pitera, Cristian Dan Preda, Dobromir Sośnierz, Charles Tannock, Geoffrey Van Orden

Substitutes present for the final vote

Brando Benifei, Neena Gill, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Marek Jurek, Soraya Post, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Helmut Scholz

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

José Blanco López, Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, Karin Kadenbach, Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso, Julie Ward, Flavio Zanonato





Iveta Grigule-Pēterse, Javier Nart


Charles Tannock, Geoffrey Van Orden


Brando Benifei, Goffredo Maria Bettini, José Blanco López, Neena Gill, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Karin Kadenbach, Arne Lietz, Andrejs Mamikins, Clare Moody, Pier Antonio Panzeri, Demetris Papadakis, Soraya Post, Julie Ward, Flavio Zanonato


Klaus Buchner, Barbara Lochbihler




Bas Belder, Marek Jurek


Georgios Epitideios, Dobromir Sośnierz




Helmut Scholz


Michèle Alliot-Marie, Elmar Brok, Arnaud Danjean, Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, Michael Gahler, Sandra Kalniete, Andrey Kovatchev, Eduard Kukan, David McAllister, Ramona Nicole Mănescu, Francisco José Millán Mon, Julia Pitera, Cristian Dan Preda, José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

Last updated: 27 February 2019
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