Strengthening global security through addressing the root causes of conflict: Priorities for the Irish and Dutch Presidencies in 2004

The aim of this document is to highlight practical steps that the EU could take to better link the progress being made with its developing European Security and Defence operations and crisis management with longer-term conflict prevention. The paper outlines four key areas for the EU Member States, officials in the Council and the Commission to address to enhance the EU’s capacity to prevent violent conflict

Conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the continued threat posed by terrorist organisations, have presented significant security challenges to the international community.

These conflicts have also exposed differences in how best to enhance global security.The US-led approach to the ‘war on terror’ has triggered a resurgence of unilateralist military responses for promoting security, even at the risk of undermining the international security system developed through the UN. The publication of the EU’s Security Strategy in December 2003 is an important counterbalance which acknowledges the changed security environment but remains significantly committed to multilateralism and respect for international law.

The implementation of the European Security Strategy will begin under the Irish and Dutch Presidencies. It is essential that the EU advances a multilateral approach to managing crises. This must be complemented with serious efforts to address the root causes of conflict and to reduce access to the tools of violence by states of concern and terrorist organisations.