The role of the EU in peace building in external relations: best practice and perspectives

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The role of the EU in peace building in external relations: best practice and perspectives

This proposal for a follow-up to the own-initiative opinion SC/029 - CESE 1686/2008 on the the EU role in the Northern Ireland peace process. It looks more closely at ways in which the EU can pass on the knowledge and experience gained through its peace-building work to other areas of conflict in the world.


The opinion makes recommendations on how the EU can extend the valuable work the EU is currently doing to support conflict resolution in the external relations setting and build up its reputation as a highly capable and credible peace‑builder on the world stage.


Despite efforts to improve coherence, an integrated "whole of EU approach" has yet to be achieved for peace-building. There is a need to draw up a clearly defined Peace-building Strategy to include civilian, military, diplomatic, rapid response, humanitarian aid, development, trade and investment actions and all other EU actions which have an impact on fragile zones.


Another major challenge is to find a way to establish "coherence, coordination and complementarity" between the extensive array of policies, players and instruments within and outside the EU and to coordinate priorities with Member States and external donors.


Civil society organisations have a crucial role to play in ensuring the effectiveness and long-term sustainability of any peace-building strategy, through cooperation and consultation processes with local non-state actors.


The creation of a Centre for Peace-building linked with other bodies working in the field to provide a focus for independent expert advice, dialogue, training, study and experience sharing between people working in the field is viewed as a valuable asset supporting the work of the EEAS in the crucial area of Peace-building.