Report for the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs

Project: Africa Programme, EU-Africa Relations

Associate Fellow, Africa Programme
Research Director, Area Studies and International Law; Head, Africa Programme
Roger Middleton
This report was published by the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs.
  • This report concludes that the European Union can play an important role in mediation efforts to prevent or end conflict, but that to do so most effectively it needs to become more coherent and flexible in its approach. As a pre-requisite, the EU needs to develop a broader awareness of the motivations and strengths it brings to mediation efforts.
  • This report assesses the 'EU Concept on Mediation and Dialogue Capacities', the role that the EU has played in mediation, and related efforts to resolve crises and consolidate peace and stability, through a detailed analysis of two case studies - Sudan and the Great Lakes region of Africa.
  • At times the EU is well placed to take a leading role in mediation. This was true in the Great Lakes, where the Union has a history of serious engagement and influence. But in Sudan the EU has not been well positioned to be a lead mediator, although it has played a useful role in supporting, and sometimes financing, the efforts of others.
  • The report suggests that a number of institutional reforms could improve the effectiveness of the EU with regards to mediation. At a time of financial austerity in particular, when member states are constrained in the resources they can commit to mediation efforts, the EU has the opportunity to demonstrate real value as a force multiplier, rather than a duplicator to or distraction from the efforts of member states and others.
  • The effectiveness of the EU as a mediator is intimately tied up with its effectiveness as a foreign policy actor. Well thought out and effective support to mediation efforts will play an important role in defining the EU's developing external reputation.