essay / Alejandro Palacios Jiménez

Of agreement to the article According to Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the Community's objectives are to promote peace by promoting freedom, security and justice. However, external instability can undermine the achievement of these internal objectives. Will the EU be able to respond effectively to such situations without betraying the values that created it?

This article it seeks to expose the main mediation efforts made by the European Union as a supranational entity. This article It does not, however, pretend to offer an in-depth analysis of the topic of mediation, but to show the main institutions that, at European level, try to respond to conflicts through mediation as a process of peaceful resolution of (potential) disputes.

Mediation has become increasingly important in its work in both conflict prevention and resolution in many areas. The fact that mediation is more economically viable than war, and that war leads to more favourable situations for both sides, has favoured its use to mitigate conflicts. Consequently, the EU is giving greater importance to mediation, with the European Union being one of the most important supranational institutions dedicated to this work.

What is meant by mediation? This is an alternative dispute resolution process, based on dialogue, through which the parties involved, voluntarily and confidentially, meet with an impartial mediator who will guide them in reaching an agreement. agreement win-win for both parties. In summary, to mediate is to help communicate. Even with this in mind, the different organizations that are dedicated to it differ in the way they carry it out. In our case, the Union takes advantage of its normative nature and resilience to mediate conflicts that could lead to instability near its external borders through agreements, mainly of an economic nature.

The EU's commitment to mediation was first embodied in the "Concept on Strengthening EU Mediation and Dialogue Capacities" in 2009. Although the entrance the Treaty of Lisbon changed its modus operandi, which served to lay the foundations for the instructions of the EU's objectives in subject of dialogue and cooperation. On the one hand, it expanded the definition of mediation to include dialogue and facilitation and, on the other hand, it treated mediation as a "primary response instrument", i.e. as an instrument to be used in the first instance written request. In addition, the Concept emphasises incorporating mediation as an integral part of the Union's foreign policy in order to develop it in a more systematic way, rather than concentrating these actions on mere ad hoc missions.

The Lisbon Treaty, signed in 2007 and in force since 2009, allowed for the creation of a more efficient, comprehensive and quasi-independent European External Action Service (EEAS), within which the Common Foreign Security Policy (CFSP) was developed, making it possible to deal more fully with the European Union. topic of the peaceful resolution of disputes. In fact, the CFSP led to an improvement in the EU's capabilities in relation to diplomatic instruments and political dialogue on the one hand, and the strategy against the proliferation of nuclear weapons on the other.

This commitment of the EU is also reflected in its involvement at different levels that differ according to the importance that the EU attaches to each process. There are two courses of action: the first reference letter to the attendance that the EU provides to the UN in its particular work for conflict prevention. It does so through the contribution of troops, police officers and international observers to its operations, totalling almost 6,000 troops, or more than 6 per cent of the total number of troops. staff total. The alternative route is for the EU itself to act as an actor in the process through European Union Special Representatives (EUSRs), diplomats chosen by the High Representative to fulfil a specific mandate. An example of this is the so-called "CSDP Missions" concerning the resolution of the conflict between Albania and Macedonia, known as the agreement Ohrid in 2001; as well as in the agreement of the Aceh region in 2005. Sometimes it is the High Representative who directly mediates conflicts, such as the E3+3 talks with Iran on its nuclear programme or the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.

In subject The European Union presents both long-term and short-term strategies, with priority given to the former.

The EU's long-term action focuses on tackling the structural causes that impede peaceful life in a specific region. Such actions are based on the premise that most conflicts are due to socio-economic differences in developing regions. development such as the Philippines, Iraq or Georgia. The EU is focused on bringing stability and cohesion to the region, mainly through the financial aid commercial. In doing so, the Union facilitates access to the European market for products from these areas. A clear example of this can be seen in the fact that the European Union is the main partner for Africa.

In addition, the European Union, through its delegations, carries out consular cooperation plans to deal with possible crisis situations, including contingency plans, i.e. alternative procedures to the normal operation of an institution. Its purpose is to allow it to function, even when some of its functions cease to do so due to an incident, both internal and external to the organization. Such plans are currently being developed in countries such as Nepal, Gaza, Libya, Lesotho and India.

These actions require an in-depth analysis of the region in question through the elaboration of a roadmap flexible enough to allow the EU to react to a substantial change in the circumstances surrounding the conflict (new outbreak of conflict, increased tension, natural disasters leading to even more displaced people...) For this reason, there is no room for a global and uniform approach in improving the structural conditions for conflict prevention.

In the short term, the EU created the so-called "Rapid Action Mechanism" in 2001. This is about supporting victims and providing financial aid NGOs, regional organizations, public and private agents and other actors with experience and capacity to act in the affected area. Such contributions are non-repayable, i.e. the borrower is under no obligation to repay the lender, in this case the EU, for the money borrowed. In addition, the Union carries out, in accordance with the ECHO Regulation, C in 1996, missions to support civilian victims due to natural causes or human action. Thus, the EU carries out tasks such as financial aid humanitarian crisis in Syria, attendance medical aid in West Africa due to the emergence of Ebola, water supply or construction of shelters in the Central African Republic, among others. All this is possible, thanks to the almost 1,000 million euros allocated each year by the European Union to these tasks.

Both actions are coordinated by the Commission, which, once the actions have been completed, assesses whether they have contributed as expected to the objectives previously set. All this will make it possible, in the short term, to minimally restore the conditions of stability in the affected area.

In addition to all this, the Union plays an important role in financing projects of external organisations aimed at conflict prevention. In this regard, the EU has two main bodies. The first is the so-called Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), formerly Instrument for Stability (IfS), which currently finances more than 200 projects in more than 75 countries, a task for which it has 2.3 billion euros this academic year 2014-2020. The second is the African Peace Facility (APF), founded in 2004. This system, funded by the European Development Fund (EFF), is funded by the European Development Fund (EUFD) development and which allocates around EUR 1.9 trillion annually, enables the Union to provide the African continent with funds to finance the African Union's efforts in the subject peace and security.

On the other hand, it is worth highlighting the alliances that the Union has established with independent organisations in the field of civil society. The most important of these is the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO). Founded in 2001, its mission statement It is to influence European politicians to take more effective and efficient action in the field of mediation. In total, EPLO has 33 partner organisations from 13 European countries (Berghof Foundation, Interpeace...) plus the so-called academic friends, which is a network of scholars working on issues related to the peaceful resolution of disputes.

The EPLO, thanks to funding from member organisations and the Union, carries out parallel projects whose goal It is the promotion of dialogue between European politicians and civil society. Highlights include the network of Civil Society Dialogue (CSDN) and the European Union Civil Capacity (EU-CIVCAP).

In conclusion, the European Union's commitment to mediation is reflected both in individual action and in support for this amalgam of organisations dedicated to the search for an alternative dispute resolution method. The many efforts in this direction reflect the concerns of a society that is increasingly committed to the development of peaceful policies, in civil service examination belligerents who could only plunge humanity into violence, poverty, uncertainty and fear.



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