FASoS participates in Horizon 2020 project on civilian capabilities

Dr Hylke Dijkstra, Dr Petar Petrov and Prof. Sophie Vanhoonacker are part of the international EU-CIVCAP consortium that has recently secured €1.7 million under Horizon 2020 to study the EU’s civilian capabilities for conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

The European Union (EU) regularly sends military and civilian operations across the globe for the purpose of conflict prevention and peacebuilding. When the EU wants to deploy military troops it is normally clear what sorts of capabilities the EU needs. The EU needs a command structure, well-trained soldiers, and key enablers such as transport and medical facilities. In recent years, the EU has worked hard on improving those military capabilities.

The EU, however, also often sends civilians abroad. They monitor peace agreements, train local police forces, and provide rule of law functions. It is much less clear what type of capabilities these EU civilians need to do their job. What sorts of training do these monitors, police agents and judges require to operate in difficult environments? How should HR management be structured for these short-term deployments? Do they need armored vehicles? And what about the use of information technology?

The EU-CIVCAP consortium seeks answers to these questions. It makes a thorough assessment of past and on-going civilian and military efforts of the EU and other international organisations. It identifies and documents lessons learned. And it seeks to enhance the future policy practice and research on EU conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

Within this broader project, the FASoS researchers compare the civilian capabilities of the EU with those of the UN and OSCE. The purpose is to identify the unique capabilities that the EU brings to the table in the field of conflict prevention and peacebuilding. This also allows for an assessment of the potential synergies between these three organisations.

Commenting on the project, Dr Hylke Dijkstra notes that “it is exciting to study the capabilities of three international organisations. It really helps us to understand where the EU adds value in conflict prevention and peacebuilding”. Dr Petar Petrov adds that “the opportunity to study in-depth the civil and military capabilities of the EU and leading international organisations is of crucial importance as it puts Maastricht University at the forefront of the current academic and policy debate. This has the potential to shape the ways we approach the prevention and management of international crises in the future”.

Prof. Sophie Vanhoonacker states that “the close interaction between universities, think tanks and NGOs make this a very interesting project which will allow to make concrete policy recommendations to practitioners both in Brussels, the member states and in the field”.

The EU-CIVCAP project starts 2015 and will run until 2018. It is coordinated by the University of Bristol and also includes experts from the University of Aberdeen, Roskilde University, the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO), the European Union Satellite Centre, the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy, and Transparency Solutions.

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