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Sweden and Finland plead for a European Institute for Peace

(BRUSSELS2) A European institute for peace? This is the proposal that Sweden and Finland have just made. The foreign ministers of the two countries, Carl Bildt and Alexander Stubb, have, in fact, written to Cathy Ashton, the chief diplomat of the EU, to propose the creation of a European peace institute financed by the member states . “With the External Action Service, the EU has the opportunity to promote peace and stability more effectively. But the efforts of traditional diplomacy are not enough,” explain the ministers.

Such an institute would have a useful role, argue the two ministers. He “could engage in conflict resolution activities around the world.” It could train Europeans for situations where classic diplomacy is not always optimal. It could also draw on the expertise of NGOs which is not always available to decision-makers.” “We need to acquire better instruments for conflict prevention, for mediation and for indirect diplomacy,” considers Carl Bildt. “This institute could start a new kind of debate,” specifies its Finnish counterpart, Alexander Stubb. As for financing, this could be provided by Member States and European institutions. And non-member European states could also engage in the Institute's activities.

The Ahtisaari experiment and the USIP model

This proposal marks a very Nordic desire to give the European external action service a tone, which has until now remained very discreet at the European level (apart from the electoral observation activity which plays on another register). Finland, in particular, more generally intends to make peace mediation one of its trademarks on the international scene.

The Europeans could benefit, they argue, from the experience of the former Finnish president, Marti Ahtisaari, who based on his various mediation experiences (in Namibia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Indonesia, etc.) developed his own institute, Crisis Management Initiative (HCM). The ministers also rely on the model developed, across the Atlantic, ofUS Institute of Peace, which was created and funded by Congress but defines itself as “independent” and “non-partisan.”

Researchers from SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) have carried out a study on behalf of the European Parliament which defines what this EU peace institute could be. Download document (“A Blue Print for an EU institute for Peace”).

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

One thought on “Sweden and Finland plead for a European Institute for Peace"

  • VANDERPOTTE Jean-Marc

    This already exists in Rotary International. It's called the Rotary Center for Peace, open to non-Rotarian scholars at the Masters (1 year) or Certificate (3 months) level. It was created with the aim of conflict resolution and understanding between peoples. See on http://www.rotary.org, “search” and 083-FR, 087-FR and 084-FR.
    Sincerely.
    Jean-Marc VANDERPOTTE

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