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Multilateralism as Envisaged? Assessing European Union’s Engagement in Conflict Resolution in the Neighbourhood


This paper focuses on the European Union’s practice in resolving conflicts in its neighbourhood. It analyses the extent to which the EU lives up to its declarations and proceeds multilaterally, in cooperation with other international actors. Two case studies are presented - on Georgia and Bosnia and Herzegovina - in which concrete EU behaviour on the ground is studied. The paper argues that various types of engagement are used by the EU in the conflicts: inaction, uni-, bi-, and multilateralism. Whereas bilateralism seems to be circumstantial, unilateralism and multilateralism belong to EU’s preferential modes of activity. At the same time, the EU is much more effective in supporting multilateral activities than in leading them.

Paper prepared within the framework of Mercury, a project funded by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Union. Published in: Caroline Bouchard, John Peterson and Nathalie Tocci (eds.), Multilateralism in the 21st Century. Europe's Quest for Effectiveness, London and New York, Routledge, August 2013, p. 157-177, ISBN 978-0-415-52003-4; 978-0-415-52004-1 (pbk).

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