EU as a Peacemaker Part I

A little over a hundred years after the outbreak of World War I, it is appropriate to commemorate both the beginning of the great war and how peace came into being. As Margaret MacMillan, one of the foremost historians who has researched the turbulent 20th century, put it:

“In 1919, Paris was the capital of the world. The peace conference was the world’s most important issue, the peace brokers were the world’s most important men. They met day after day. They argued, debated, argued, and became friends again. They made agreements. They wrote treaties. They formed new countries and new international organizations. They ate together and went to the theater together. For six months, between January and June, both the world government, parliament and the Supreme Court were gathered in Paris. Paris was at the center of the world’s hope and fear. “

  • How does the EU contribute to peace – both between EU countries and outside the EU area?
  • What tools can the EU use in its peace work?
  • What success stories does the EU have to refer to in the context of peace?
  • What challenges does the EU face in matters of peace?

2: With the EU for peace

The world has never seen the like of the protracted, intense peace talks in Paris since the First World War. In our time, with extensive electronic communications and other diplomatic means, it is unlikely that we will see anything like this again. Nevertheless, there are some similarities between the world today and the world of 1919. One of the parallels became clear in 2012, when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the EU for the Union’s contribution to changing Europe from a “war continent to a peace continent ” .

In fact, according to SHOPPINGPICKS, the EU’s early beginnings can be traced back to the end of the First World War. Then the French Minister of Industry Etienne Clémentel drew up a plan for a new economic order in Europe. In it, cooperation was to replace competition , resources were to be gathered and shared and the integration process was led by technocrats (people who govern by virtue of their competence and not after being democratically elected). The plan stalled due to Britain’s lack of interest and the United States’ reluctance to contribute funding. But the work bore fruit after World War II. Jean Monnet, who had been an assistant to Clémentel in 1919, then sowed the seeds of what would become today’s European Union.

When the Nobel Committee announced the Peace Prize in 2012 , it celebrated six decades of work to “promote peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe”. The EU’s success is largely based on a strategy to use the Union’s appeal . It must ensure that countries that want to become members create lasting peace in their own territory and vis-à-vis neighboring countries. Northern Ireland and Cyprus are examples of the fact that there will not always be peace in countries that become EU members. Yet they are the only exceptions that confirm a rule. EU integration and enlargement policy is still considered an effective tool for peace-building throughout the European continent.

We can ask why the Nobel Committee did not mention the EU’s ability to be a peace – building force even outside Europe’s geographical borders. There is an explanation for this: the EU has only been involved to a small extent as a peace mediator elsewhere in the world and then with mixed results.
This article has three main arguments:

  • The EU has a moral and legal obligation to work to find peaceful solutions to conflicts, even between countries not located in the EU’s immediate areas.
  • The EU’s attempts at peacebuilding since the early 1990s show that although the EU has many tools at its disposal, it is not always well planned where, when and how the tools will be used.
  • On 1 January 2011, the EU Joint Foreign Service entered into force. This has strengthened the EU’s capacity and capacity to pursue conflict resolution, but there is still much room for improvement.

3: Moral and legal obligation

One of the principles underlying the EU’s legal obligation to be a force for good is the fact that European integration is in itself seen as a peace process . In a famous statement (May 9, 1950), the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman stated that his goal of European cooperation was to make war not only unthinkable, but simply impossible . This was to be achieved with the European Coal and Steel Unionas a first step. The union wanted to create a common market for the two largest war industries and help neutralize competition between the historical rivals France and Germany – as well as several other countries – over natural resources, especially in the Ruhr area. The European Atomic Energy Community (1957) was later created from a similar idea. The European peace project is based on such agreements, as the Nobel Committee has also pointed out.

EU as a Peacemaker 1

You may also like...