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EU influence in conflict: power to mitigate or to mediate?

Dispensa al corso di Teorie dei conflitti e processi di pace della Prof.ssa Maria Luisa Maniscalco, all'interno della quale è analizzato il ruolo dell'Unione Europea nei processi di peacekeeping e peacebuilding, attraverso gli strumenti di European Common Foreign and Security Policy (Politica... Vedi di più

Esame di Teorie dei conflitti e processi di pace docente Prof. M. Maniscalco



Susanne Gentz

With regard to direct mediation efforts, the EU prefers to keep a low profile, and

though the EU special representatives on the ground usually maintain contact with

the parties, they tend to gather and disseminate information as opposed to playing

an active role. While especially the presence of the European Commission Delega­

tions and in some cases EUSRs provide for immediate communication channels

between Brussels and conflict zones, their activity on the ground often concentrates

on observing, gathering information and offering follow-up assistance. EUSRs in

particular seem to be well placed to conduct mediation efforts, but few have a man­

date that specifically mentions the facilitation of a peace process or negotiations.

The EUSR for the Middle East Peace Process currently enjoys such an explicit

2005 2006,

mandate. In and the Commission appointed Marc Otte, who had been


EUSR for the Middle East Process since to participate in the Quartet along

with representatives from the US, the UN and Russia. It also provided financial as

well as technical and drafting support to Quartet’s Special Envoy for Disengage­

ment, James Wolfensohn by seconding staff from Brussels. The process was sup­

ported by the EU Troika rallying support from other countries for the peace process

through political dialogue. The need for peace in the Middle East, notably between

Israel and the Palestinian Authority is an integral part of the EU country strategies

1 and action plans for both countries. In addition to regular financial assistance for

various programmes, the EU entertains a monitoring mission to oversee the imple­

2 mentation of the Israeli/Palestinian agreement on operation of the Rafah border

3 crossing point between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Nevertheless, the example of

the Middle East also shows that in spite of EU efforts, individual EU member states

4 often entertain separate efforts that are seldom coordinated properly, if not out­

right contradictory.

5 In addition to EUSRs, the Commission can deploy Special Envoys to assess the

situation on the ground before deciding on a path of action. The EU’s intervention

6 2006,

in Timor Leste is interesting in this regard. In March the security situation in

Dili deteriorated dramatically and forces from Australia, Portugal, New Zealand

7 and Malaysia were deployed to contain the crisis. Miguel Amado was sent as an

EU Special Envoy for a three week assessment mission, and on his recommenda­

tion, a €4 million stabilisation programme was initiated to support the national


dialogue in Timor Leste in the run-up to the elections, and contribute to the

efforts of the UN Integrated Mission (UNMIT) that had just been set up. In addi­

tion, the EU financed a high-level dialogue between Prime Minister Ramos Horta,

the President of the Parliament, Francisco Guterres, the party leaders, the Com­

mander of the Defence Forces, Taur Matan Ruak as well as representatives from

the Catholic Church, which had been initiated by the Club of Madrid under the

coordination of Former Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Birkavs.

Supporting conflict resolution and mediation efforts of

other actors

As shown above, EU conflict resolution related measures are largely limited to

intensified political dialogue within the framework of ongoing accession nego­

OSLO forum 2007

58 EU influence in conflict: power to mitigate or to mediate?

tiations or in the form of technical and implementation assistance. However, as

the example of Timor Leste and the Middle East show, the possibility of direct

support to conflict resolution efforts of other actors exists, and has been invoked

frequently following the request of a country in conflict or by a high level, eminent

personality mediator. Currently, such support is usually understood in financial

terms, but can also include the deployment of advisors.

These measures too can only be applied where there is prior EU engagement with

regular assistance programmes, or with the consent of the government. Unfortu­

nately, this does not mean that the programmes already in place are sufficiently

adapted to enhance the impact of crisis intervention. Also, as the EU does not

seem to use the leverage its assistance programmes would offer to encourage a

government to engage with its opponents constructively, the parties are seldom


In the case of Timor Leste, support was offered under the Rapid Reaction Mecha­

nism (RRM), which used to be a special instrument in the hands of the Conflict

Prevention and Crisis Management Unit in the Commission’s Directorate for

External Relations (DG Relex) to complement the regional long-term instruments 1

and rapidly respond to emergencies or crisis. 2



As of January the RRM was by the Stability Instrument (SI) , which is now

the most important instrument in dealing with conflict prevention, crisis manage­ 3

ment and conflict resolution efforts. It specifically includes support to “international

and regional organisations, as well as state and non-state actors to facilitate a 4

peaceful resolution of disputes, promote the reconciliation of the parties, includ­

ing negotiation and mediation efforts and monitoring and implementation of peace 5

or ceasefire agreement”. In contrast to the repealed RRM, SI financing can exceed

six months and is hoped to allow for adapting regular EU or EC run activities to 6

such mediation initiatives. 7

The most prominent example to date is the support to the peace process in Aceh,

Indonesia and the eventual deployment of the Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM);

not least because it demonstrated the complexity of the EU’s foreign policy struc­

tures, and the extent to which personal engagement impacts the way available

instruments are being applied. Following prior EU support to the monitoring


and implementation of the Cessation of Hostilities Framework agreement

between the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the government of the Republic of


Indonesia, negotiations resumed in under the auspices of former Finish Presi­

dent Martti Ahtisaari and his Crisis Management Initiative. Though not acting as

a representative of the EU, Ahtisaari’s process was largely funded under the RRM,

and the peace agreement explicitly included provisions for an EU led monitoring

mission to safeguard the implementation of the agreement. As the AMM included

decommissioning tasks and the destruction of weapons, the Commission’s offer

to cover the costs via the RRM had been rejected to safeguard the Council’s, and

therefore member states’ political prerogative for ESDP missions of a political sen­


sitive nature or with military implications . From an institutional perspective,

with no obligation to act, the case could have been dropped given the quarrel about

OSLO forum 2007 59

Susanne Gentz

financing and the need to react quickly. However, due to the close relationship to

Ahtisaari and the strong personal commitment of Solana and other high level offi­

cials to push forward the EU’s machinery, all available instruments – ranging from

an initial monitoring presence to a technical assessment mission – were applied

in such a way as to make it impossible to withdraw without exposing the EU’s

global ambitions.

The Aceh experience also underlines the EU’s commitment to cooperate with re­

gional organisation. Headed by Pieter Feith, Deputy Director General for politico-

military affairs, the AMM relied on considerable contributions from ASEAN states

(Brunei, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore). Mediation support

based on specific provisions for assisting in the prevention of conflict and conflict

resolution efforts of regional and sub regional organisations such as ASEAN, the

African Union, IGAD or ECOWAS through negotiation and mediation have been

applied quite frequently. The African Peace Facility was created to help finance


African Union led peacekeeping missions .

The EU has also contributed financing to the IGAD and African Union peace efforts


in Somalia since and has intensified its political dialogue with countries that

1 are incidental to the conflict, such as Yemen, to discourage regional division on

the issue. The current process is led by IGAD, but the EU acts as an observer, with

2 Commission staff and advisors on the ground meeting with the parties to offer

advice and exchange information. The activities are embedded in the Horn of

3 Africa Strategy, which draws on the African Peace Facility. The process has been

approved by the Council, which ensures access to political networks and decision

4 makers, but is essentially run by the Commission.

5 Similar examples in Africa include support to the IGAD led peace process in Sudan


in financial support to AU mediation efforts in the Central African Republic

6 2002 2001

in as well as to the ECOWAS mediation efforts in Côte d’Ivoire, where

the Commission financed the meetings between ECOWAS representatives and

7 the parties and the setting up of a secretariat in Abidijan. Also, the mediation by

Ketumile Masire, former President of Botswana, in the Democratic Republic of


Congo in benefited from EU financing.

However, the bias towards individual states remains visible. For instance, only a

fifth of the annual assistance to individual ASEAN countries is used to fund ASEAN

projects. Determined to strengthen regional organisations and their capacity to

resolve conflict, the EU nevertheless prioritises individual states in the scope of

its financial assistance programmes. Arguably, the possibilities to ensure respon­

sible spending are higher in a state setting, as many regional organisations are

still developing, but given the state of many government administrations in con­

flict settings this advantage is questionable. Rather than supporting the necessary

reform of such institutions and create incentives for regional cooperation, the EU

continues to prioritise states.

OSLO forum 2007

60 EU influence in conflict: power to mitigate or to mediate?

Conclusions: the EU and conflict mediation in practice

The EU understands its external activity as to provide key enablers for peace and

stability, as opposed to the EU itself actively and directly seeking to solve conflict

through mediation. Overall, the role of the EU is largely that of mitigating the

consequences of conflict, as well as creating the conditions for and supporting

post-conflict development. These priorities of assistance and conflict prevention

are relatively well established and unlikely to change radically. The current EU

approach to conflict mediation can be summarised as follows:

• Commitment to support peace processes and mediation initiatives by others,

including international and regional organisations;

• Prioritise efforts to stabilise fragile environments and quickly re-establish the

conditions for reconstruction, rehabilitation and regular assistance. The assump­

tion of such action is that the promise of long-term assistance will not only

sustain peace processes financially, but also strengthen the commitment of the

parties to an agreement;

• Action hinges on the receiving country’s consent, and is based on prior engage­

ment, e.g. via a partnership and association agreement; 1

• The Commission will also consider financing and supporting a mediation pro­

cess if approached by a high level mediator that is accepted by all parties to the 2

conflict; responsibility lies with the conflict prevention and crisis management

unit in DG Relex; 3

• Preference for strong ad hoc eminent person initiatives, and for well defined

mediation initiatives such as cease fire agreements. 4


Endnotes 6

1 Susanne Gentz is Policy Project Office at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. She holds a Masters degree

in Peace & Conflict from Uppsala University and an LLB in Law & European Studies from the University of 7

Surrey UK. She has worked for the Counci of Europe, the Transnational Crime and Corruption Centre in Geor­

gia and the UN Office for Project Services, for a Georgian Human Rights NGO and as a freelance journalist.

2 It comprises the Heads of the Member States, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs, the President of the European

Commission and the Commissioner for External Relations, as well as the High Representative for CFSP.

3 In the case of ESDP missions, costs of deployment for instance lie were they fall. Therefore, the possibility of

constructive abstention has been introduced so that member states do not have to block a decision to avoid

involvement. Once a decision for joint action has been made, the details of its implementation may be decided

on by qualified majority voting. Qualified majority voting weighs the votes in relation to the population size

of a member state and subject to a majority of member states in favour of the proposal.

4 Alternatively, the troika, which includes the next Presidency and the High Representative for CFSP and some­

times the relevant Commissioner, can also fulfil this function.

5 The High Representative currently has nine Special Representatives on the ground: Torben Brylle has just

replaced Pekka Havisto in Sudan; Pierre Morel in Central Asia; Erwan Fouéré in the Former Yugoslav Repub­

lic of Macedonia (FYROM), who is the only one that combines the position of EC Delegation Head with that

of EUSR; Peter Semneby in the South Caucasus; Francesc Vendrell in Afghanistan; Kálmán Mizsei who is

tasked to contribute to a peaceful settlement of Transniestra conflict in Moldova; Christian Schwarz-Schilling

in Bosnia and Herzegovina; Marc Otte who is tasked to observe and support the Middle East Peace Process;

and Roeland van de Geer who has recently been appointed to contribute where requested to the negotiation

and implementation of cease fire agreements in the Great Lakes region. On occasion, Personal Representatives


of the High Representative can be appointed. In Miroslav Lajcák was charged to facilitate negotiations

among political factions in Montenegro in the run up to the referendum on independence.

6 Currently: EUFOR Althea, an EU military operation and EUPM, a police mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina,

as well as a planning team in Kosovo to explore a future role in the rule of law sector.

OSLO forum 2007 61




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Dispensa al corso di Teorie dei conflitti e processi di pace della Prof.ssa Maria Luisa Maniscalco, all'interno della quale è analizzato il ruolo dell'Unione Europea nei processi di peacekeeping e peacebuilding, attraverso gli strumenti di European Common Foreign and Security Policy (Politica Estera e di Sicurezza Comune) e la European Security and Defence Policy.

Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in relazioni internazionali
A.A.: 2011-2012

I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher Atreyu di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Teorie dei conflitti e processi di pace e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Roma Tre - Uniroma3 o del prof Maniscalco Maria Luisa.

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