EU Security Strategy: The implications for EU conflict prevention

This paper assesses the EU Security Strategy from a conflict prevention perspective, highlighting its relationship with the EU Programme for the Prevention of Violent Conflicts, endorsed by the Goteborg European Council in June 2001 (the Goteborg Programme).

The European Security Strategy commits the EU to using a wide range of instruments to prevent violent conflict. Its comprehensive nature is one of its strengths, but greater analysis of how the EU’s “hard” and “soft” instruments will be applied during the implementation of the Strategy is needed. There is the risk that Member States will pay increasing attention to developing military aspects of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, rather than civilian, and preventive responses, without which, military engagement is counter-productive.

Saferworld and International Alert, therefore, believe it is important to analyse in more detail how the EU might make use of its soft instruments during the implementation of the Security Strategy, and how existing instruments, such as European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) operations, can be better integrated into longer-term preventive strategies.

A review of the Goteborg Programme since June 2003 is provided as an annex.