in: College of Europe Policy Brief (4.21)
A decade after the adoption of the ‘Concept on Strengthening EU Mediation and Dialogue Capacities’, the EU presented the new ‘Concept on EU Peace Mediation’ in December 2020. Despite the 2009 concept’s importance for strengthening EU mediation capacities, there had been a persistent plea for updating the mediation concept in order to better outline the EU’s priorities and objectives in peace mediation and adapting them to a new geopolitical context. The new concept clearly delivers on these points.
The birth of the EU’s new concept on mediation and its enhanced ambition sensibly align with the EU’s unveiled ambition for a greater ‘geopolitical’ role. As the new concept underlines, the EU’s peace mediation efforts add to its geopolitical power and should not be seen as opposed to a vision of the EU becoming a more assertive global actor. Although the new framework is a positive step towards a politically and operationally more coherent EU mediation practice, open questions remain regarding the political and institutional conditions of an effective practical implementation of the new concept.
Going forward, the EU should further invest in institutionalising cooperation with member states in mediation, improve communication practices regarding its mediation activities and mainstream the mediation concept into its strategic and programming documents.