Principles and Values: What Future Role in EU peacebuilding?

The post-Cold War period – and the general optimism associated with it – has come to an end. Many of the certainties that most people in the Western world took for granted are questioned or even undermined. A new era of great power competition is unfolding between the United States, Europe, China, and Russia, accompanied by a certain leadership vacuum in what has become known as the liberal international order. In parallel, perceptions of dangerous spill-over of violent extremism coming from outside Europe coupled with perceived massive arrival of migrants and refugees and the mismanagement of these flows, have compromised multilateralism. While it is unclear what kind of new order will emerge, whether core principles of the old one can be preserved, whether we will see a world with competing orders, and whether the transition period will be peaceful, it seems clear that the European Union will need to adapt to a new reality, potentially an increasingly non-Western-driven world. Against the backdrop, the European Union (EU) – as other global players – are at an important crossroads, where the status quo ante is not an option. In this world of uncertainty, what should and could be the role of the European Union in the field of peacebuilding? How can it remain a relevant actor on the global scene and retain its added value in peacebuilding? In a world of competing orders, how can the EU ensure that its normative project of pushing for democracy still has resonance? This project focuses on the EU efforts to build peace in the Western Balkans, where the EU admittedly has particular vested interests both due to the geography of the region and to the ambition of the EU project there, where the ultimate goal is EU enlargement.


Dr. Isabelle Ioannides is a Senior Associate Researcher in the Institute for European Studies and a Scholar in the Department of Political Science, at the Free University of Brussels (VUB). She currently works as a Policy Analyst in the European Parliamentary Research Service of the European Parliament, where she engages in policy development and research in support of the legislative oversight that Parliamentary committees and subcommittees conduct on EU external action. Her publications examine EU peacebuilding and statebuilding in transitional societies, including the governance of the security sector, and EU crisis management, concentrating on EU performance in the Western Balkans and the Middle East & North Africa region. She holds a PhD and a Masters of Research in international relations and security studies (University of Bradford, UK), a Masters of Research in political science (Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, France) and a Bachelors in foreign affairs and French literature (University of Virginia, USA).