Voices from the conference
“We do not need a security provider but a peace provider. New alliances should be built out of hope and prosperity and not out of despair and fear.“
Voices from the conference
“We need to hold the course on the vision of Europe as a peace project, even in times of war. The EU must remain a conflict prevention machine.”
Political Evening

Reshaping Alliances for Peace and Security

Panel discussion: What is the role for Europe?

The panel discussion took place ahead of the 2024 EU elections and provided a space for reflection on how Europe can be a reliable and credible partner for peace in times of renewed power politics. Panelists from Europe and Africa shared the perspective that with the current conflict dynamics from Ukraine to the Horn of Africa as well as the South China Sea and their interlinkages with global crises, multilateralism seems not to be working on a global level. Increasing fragmentation is accompanied by nationalism, violent extremism as well as an erosion of trust in democracy and peace institutions. Decision makers are facing dilemmas and new challenges as the need arises to shape alliances across real or perceived political fault lines.

The EU needs to learn how to navigate geopolitical complexity.

The EU needs to overcome a binary discourse about “us” and “them”. Anti-democratic trends witnessed for example in the Sahel region do not necessarily arise from a per se rejection of democracy as a system of government but from an expression of dissatisfaction with the failure of democracies to deliver the promised results of sustainable development. This trend is less regarded as a democracy than a state building crisis. Especially with regard to Africa, proper state building is needed, but since African states are very young and state building is a difficult process, it is essential to support creating respective conditions such as peace, security and inclusion. The EU should learn how to navigate geopolitical complexity which does not mean to give up its compass of values.

The EU must remain a peace project.

The EU is a peace project, it is part of its DNA and enshrined in Art. 3 of the Treaty of the EU, but it is also a Defense Union. It is not in the interest of the EU to lose sight of its long-term vision, which is peace and stability, over its ambitions in defense. The EU should rely more on its capacities for peacemaking and create opportunities for interoperability. Over the last 20 years, only five wars were ended by military means, whereas 12 negotiated peace agreements held longer than 5 years. Hence, the EU and Germany should not invest in military expenditure at the costs of peace and prevention.

The EU should take up a more modest approach.

While we need collective security recreated, this collective security based on multilateralism should rather be more modest and might need to shift to cooperative security as already being observed in some regions. Since one single narrative does not capture today’s divergent peace and security policies, reflections might need to focus less on global, but rather on smaller, regional solutions. The EU needs to listen more to its partners in the so-called Global South. Power relationships need to be looked at through a feminist lens. That includes that attention is shifted to peaceful actors and away from parties to violent conflict. While civil society cannot solve protracted conflict on its own, the EU needs to foster civil society and include their visions into any multitrack (peace) process.

Improved leadership can support the people affected by violent conflict.

The EU’s strength in comparison to other actors such as China and Russia are the capacities that have been built even if these outcomes are less visible. Since the EU supports its partners with a long-term vision and engagement, the EU remains an important and credible actor in peacebuilding. However, people affected by violent conflict need real leadership. Leadership means that a peace dividend is created for the people directly affected by the violence and that initiatives once they were started by their European or state allies continue until they sustainably deliver the expected outcomes.


Ambassador Rainer Rudolph
Munich Security Conference (MSC)
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Dr Antje Herrberg
College of Europe
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Dr Hibo Yassin Haji Yussuf
IIDA Women's Development Organization
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Dr Paul-Simon Handy
Institute for Security Studies (ISS Africa)
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Professor Cheryl Hendricks
Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR)
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Natasha Walker
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Current Topics

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The FriEnt Peacebuilding Forum is a series of events on current and overarching challenges and trends in peacebuilding. With the Peacebuilding Forum, we want to provide future-oriented impulses for the development of peacebuilding and strengthen the visibility and importance of the policy field in its entirety.


Arbeitsgemeinschaft Frieden
und Entwicklung (FriEnt)
c/o GIZ

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53113 Bonn

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