Capabilities and Coherence? The Evolution of European Union Conflict Prevention

E J Stewart

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60 Citations (SciVal)


Conflict prevention is now a key EU external relations objective, featuring prominently in EU documents and discourse. Yet how does this rhetorical success translate in terms of concrete policy and resources? This paper traces the evolution of EU conflict prevention policy from the early 1990s to 2006, highlighting some of the problems facing the EU in its development of the policy - in particular, the inherent institutional difficulties associated with the rise of a complex, cross-pillar policy objective. It concludes that EU conflict prevention is being militarized at the expense of the development of a comprehensive, longer-term policy designed to tackle the root causes of conflict. EU military priorities are also reflected in the organization's external cooperation: short-term cooperation with the UN and NATO is favoured over longer-term cooperation with the OSCE. Security on the EU's present and future borders requires more investment in development and civilian solutions, and less on military crisis response.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-254
Number of pages26
JournalEuropean Foreign Affairs Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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