The very first stated goal of the European Union is to promote peace. What began as a project seeking peaceful relations between its members, has become one of the principal global actors in favour of peace and security. On the eve of the commemorations to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-day landings, the European Parliament is participating in the Normandy Global Peace Forum, held in Caen, Normandy on 4 and 5 June 2019. The European Parliamentary Research Service is contributing to the Forum with several studies on peace and security in the world, and the role of the European Union, including: an overview of EU action in favour of peace and security in 2019 and the outlook for the future; a study on the peace and reconciliation process in Colombia; and a new mapping of threats to peace and democracy worldwide, as an introduction to the ‘Normandy Index’.
Presented for the first time at the 2019 Normandy Global Peace Forum, the ‘Normandy Index’ was developed in cooperation with the Institute for Economics and Peace, and as a result of a formal agreement with the region of Normandy, and aims to provide a better analysis of the risks to peace worldwide. This paper sets out the initial findings of the 2019 exercise, complemented by 25 individual country case studies, derived from the Index. It explains how the index can be used to compare peace – defined on the basis of a given country’s performance against a range of predetermined threats – across countries and regions.
Rather than being limited to a simple measure of the lack of conflict on the territory concerned, which could merely give an illusion of stability, the index measures the risks to peace. These threats include climate change, economic crisis, energy dependence, state fragility, the homicide rate, press freedom, and the quality of the democratic process, as well as the incidence of terrorism, armed conflict and the presence of weapons of mass destruction. To illustrate the method, 25 specific case studies focus on countries that have seen both a rise and a fall in the threat to peace. The examples highlight the EU contribution in terms of development, democracy support, economic cooperation, and peacekeeping operations. Through the measurement of each threat, the index identifies those countries where peace is most fragile, and consequently vulnerable to threat. It is in these regions that EU foreign policy could prioritise diplomatic means of reinforcing resilience to prevent the outbreak of conflict. In contributing to current thinking regarding the situation in 136 countries, the ‘Normandy Index’ measurement of this wider range of threats enables Members of the European Parliament, experts and the wider public to obtain a more nuanced view of the state of peace in the world.
To analyse and explain the European Union contribution to the promotion of peace and security internationally, through its various external policies, a second edition of the EU Peace and Security Outlook provides an overview of the issues and current state of play. It looks first at the concept of peace and the changing nature of the geopolitical environment. It then focuses on the centrality of the promotion of peace and security in the EU’s external action and proceeds to an analysis of the practical pursuit of these principles in the main areas of EU policy: development, democracy support, and security and defence, as well as in the increasingly relevant area of disinformation and foreign influence. The study concludes with an outlook for the future.
A parallel study focuses specifically on EU peacebuilding efforts in Colombia. The study evaluates EU engagement during the 50-year conflict in Colombia, and focuses on peacebuilding since the historic 2016 final agreement between the government and the main armed group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP). This is a country where the EU has mobilised a large spectrum of civilian instruments: bilateral and multilateral diplomacy; humanitarian and development aid; and trade relations. After placing the conflict in its geopolitical context, this evaluation analyses the EU approach to and implementation of support to peace in Colombia, the European Parliament’s contribution, risks since the signature of the peace agreement, and ways to mitigate them.