Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific challenge:

Since the end of the cold war the relative global political stability created through the balance of power between the Soviet Union and the US has considerably decreased. Across the world the new multipolar structure of international politics reopened dormant conflicts and lead to new emerging crisis situations.

Overcoming these new conflicts necessitates novel approaches on prevention, mediation and peace keeping to which the occidental world is only insufficiently prepared. Classical stabilisation/intervention operations are often not appropriate anymore, nor do they guarantee any long term stability. Conflicts cannot be overcome solely by military or civilian means alone.

The majority of these conflicts are asymmetrical by nature. This often implies that the primary victims are non-combatants, particularly in civil wars. The humanitarian crises (famines, epidemics, forced migrations) that follow often affect especially women and children. These conflicts represent both a humanitarian obligation for the EU to act, and a liability for the external and internal security of the EU. Economic and political disparities have often proven to be a breeding ground for political extremism, violent radicalisation and terrorism.

These geopolitical changes and challenges are reflected in the articles 42-46 on the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) of the Treaty on European Union: “the Union may use civilian and military means, shall include joint disarmament operations, humanitarian and rescue tasks, military advice and assistance tasks, conflict prevention and peace-keeping tasks, tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peace-making and post-conflict stabilisation.”


Research in this field should focus on :

  • Analysing past and on-going civilian and military efforts of the EU, its Member States, Associated Countries and international organisations (UN, OSCE) on conflict prevention and peace building in and between third countries.  

  • Assessing the potential for pooling and sharing of capabilities and technologies for civilian conflict prevention.

  • Research should go beyond the short term stabilisation/conflict prevention and focus on long-term peace building by civilian means.

  • A catalogue of best practices and lessons learned should be developed in the form of a living document.

  • Identifying research priorities on civilian conflict prevetion for Horizon 2020 security research.

  • Special attention should be paid to civilian-military synergies on an operational level.

Expected impact:

Projects resulting from this topic should develop a clear assessment of the capabilities of the EU for external conflict prevention and peace building and identify the best civilian means to enhance these capabilities.

A set of clear policy priorities and technological needs on civilian conflict prevention should be developed, with a focus on the exploitation of civilian-military synergies.

Type of action: Coordination and Support Actions




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