External action: an authentic European Peace Policy needed

14/06/2016 12:30

War in Syria, Iraq and Libya, conflict in Eastern Ukraine, terrorism and hybrid threats: in recent months, an arc of instability has surrounded the European Union and violent attacks even hit its core. It is to be hoped that this 28-29 June, the EU will reshape the strategic guidance for its Foreign & Security Policy. In a report published today, COMECE Bishops make 21 policy recommendations for an authentic European Peace Policy.

 

Threats to peace and security have become increasingly complex and they require an effective and well-coordinated common European response. It is therefore a welcome step that the European Heads of State are about to examine a “Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy” prepared by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini at their Summit end of June.

 

This is the momentum chosen by COMECE to advance proposals for an integral approach to Foreign and Security Policy by reminding the EU of its unique vocation to promote peace in its neighbourhood and worldwide. Pre-emptive Peacebuilding, Peace through Justice and Peace through Security are identified by the report as 3 pillars of an authentic European Peace Policy. The text contains 21 policy recommendations addressed to the EU institutions.

 

During the lunch-debate this Tuesday, Brigadier General Heinz Krieb was invited to react to the proposals. As a member of the European Union Military Staff (EUMS), he said: ‘We appreciate the COMECE contribution and we fully support it’, underlining that without the endorsement and ownership by the 28 member Sates, the Strategy cannot be properly and effectively implemented.

 

‘It is our hope that the present report will be of assistance to the policy makers’ said Mgr Jean Kockerols, COMECE Vice-President, who presented the report. He thanked the group of experts from the joint COMECE/Justice & Peace Europe Commission who helped drafting the report and expressed his hope that the 28 EU Heads of State and Government will endorse ‘a robust and ambitious Global Strategy providing a good basis for an authentic European Peace Policy’.

 

The report has been submitted to High Representative Mogherini. She welcomed the proposals and highlighted the specific contribution which the Catholic Church with its worldwide networks and a broad societal outreach can make to EU’s peace-building mission.

 

The report may also foster the debate with civil society and become a point of reference for the wider public. It is available in English, French and German.