The European Union considers conflict resolution as a cardinal objective of its foreign policy. It makes use of a number of policy instruments to promote conflict transformation through ‘constructive engagement’, which cover a range of sectors affecting conditions and incentives at the micro level. The EU has recognised the importance of engaging with civil society in situations of violent conflict, but needs to engage more with local civil society to make its policies more effective. This briefing aims to aid the understanding of the role of civil society organisations in situations of violent conflict, and the potential role of EU policies in enhancing CSOs’ conflict transformation efforts.
Paper produced in the context of the MICROCON project (Work Package 11, "Conflict in the European Neighbourhood"), funded by the EU's Seventh Framework Research Programme.
1. Introduction – the EU and peace promotion in the Neighbourhood
2. Civil Society and its function
3. Civil society activities in conflict
4. The impact and effectiveness of local civil society in conflict
5. The EU’s role in supporting local civil society conflict transformation efforts
6. Two fundamental policy questions and three hypotheses for answering them
6.1 The liberal peace paradigm
6.2 The leftist critique