Preventing violent conflict: Opportunities for the Swedish and Belgian Presidencies of the European Union in 2001

The need for the EU to do more to prevent violent conflict is now well accepted, and the Union has a key role to play. This briefing paper sets out key proposals for action.

Violent conflict causes massive humanitarian suffering, undermines development, stifles economic growth and prevents the maturation of political institutions.

However, political realities mean that the focus of EU action is invariably on crisis management (often military) rather than on longer-term action to prevent conflicts erupting in the first place. The Swedish and Belgian presidencies of the EU offer a vital opportunity to put measures in place to increase the EU’s capacity to prevent violent conflicts and promote a culture of prevention.