Bring peacebuilding home: Making the case for peacebuilding in Europe

May 13, 2020

Peace organization PAX participates in the 2020 Virtual Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development as an official Forum partner. PAX was selected by the Forum to host the ‘Bring Peacebuilding Home: Making the Case for Peacebuilding in Europe’ session which will be taking place on Friday 15 May.

This year’s Forum will discuss the opportunities and challenges facing efforts to sustain peace in the time of COVID-19. It will fully take place virtually, due to the pandemic outbreak, between 11th May and 22nd May, with all sessions taking placing in the afternoon (13.00 – 18.00 CEST).

Bring Peacebuilding Home: Making the Case for Peacebuilding in Europe

The European Union has made vast and significant investments in support of peacebuilding processes and democratic transformation abroad. This is done in part under the assumption that interactions between states in Europe and beyond are increasingly influenced by their growing interdependence due to globalization and transnational character of modern challenges.

More recently, however, the EU and its member states have not been able to stand united and act in order to prevent neither the outbursts of COVID-19 as a serious threat to human security nor violence and escalation of conflicts closer home (Europe).

Age of wars

This development takes place against the backdrop of a geopolitical landscape in which there is growing discontent with the role of the West, liberal values and multilateralism. Instead of deeper cooperation that, in the words of Robert Schuman, would make “war not only unthinkable but materially impossible”, we see signs that may indicate that an “age of wars” is yet again upon our doorstep.

Europe faces decreasing international cooperation, more frequent protectionist and nationalistic reflexes, increasing polarization, and the rise of populism, while systematic violations of rule of law and human rights take place in a number of the European countries.


Seeing the European Union as an oasis of peace and security in a world that is facing growing tensions and widespread hostilities may be increasingly naive. Therefore, peacebuilding may have to become a priority for the EU’s relationships with its Eastern and South-Eastern neighbours, and perhaps even for stability within the EU.

The key goal of this virtual round table session is to discuss and define:

How can the EU maintain and strengthen its peacebuilding commitment towards its non-EU neighbours in the Western Balkans and Eastern Neighbourhood?

In raising this question this session aims to

  1. Unpack the complexity of the changing world and the multitude of challenges facing Europe.
  2. Outline the possible ingredients for a successful and inclusive peacebuilding strategy for Europe, that would include both top-down (institutional) and bottom-up (citizen-driven) approaches.

Agenda and participants

Open session – Hosted by PAX and forumZFD
Friday, 15 May 2020, 13.00 – 14.00 CEST

Roundtable discussion – moderated by Mr Jaïr van der Lijn, Programme Director, SIPRI

Introduction to the discussion – including the short animation The EU as a Peace Project in 2040 as a discussion teaser – by Dion van den Berg (PAX) and Oliver Knabe (forumZFD)

Keynote presentations

  • Mr Christian Danielsson, Director General for Enlargement and Neighbourhood at the European Commission
  • Ms Jovana Radosavljevi?, Executive Director of NGO New Social Initiative (NSI), Mitrovica (Kosovo)

Discussion with the broader audience – aiming to engage with views from experts, policy-makers and civil society from EU member states and the Western Balkans, Eastern Neighbourhood and the Global South.

Forum Registration Link:
YouTube livestream (registration not required):

The report The EU as a Peace Project – Scenarios for 2040 can be downloaded from our publications section.

SIPRI website: 2020 Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development

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