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Conflict Management in Eastern Europe

OSZE-Inspektion an einem Kontrollpunkt in Donezk, Ukraine
picture alliance / ZUMAPRESS.com /Celestino Arce Lavin
Many conflicts in the European Union's eastern neighborhood have remained unresolved for years or decades. With this work project, the Advisory Board for Civilian Crisis Prevention advocates a greater role for Germany in addressing these conflicts. The conflicts should be more firmly embedded in the German foreign and security policy agenda. 

Many conflicts in Germany’s and the EU’s eastern neighborhood remain unresolved, with severe consequences for the people living there. Phases of apparent stability or low intensity of violence were followed by new outbreaks of war in Georgia in 2008 and in the context of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2016 and 2020. Even after the ceasefire, the security situation in and around Nagorno-Karabakh remains tense. In the Donbas, it is also still extremely precarious, with the conflict claiming over 140 lives in 2020 as well. At the political level, there has been little progress toward sustainable conflict management or transformation in all these conflicts.

Actors such as the OSCE, the UN and the EU are trying to contribute to improving human security in conflict areas. Sustained political investment in conflict management beyond acute phases of violence or escalation is lacking. Due to its close relations with countries in the region, its perception there as a comparatively neutral actor and as the largest EU member state, Germany has the potential to make a substantial contribution to conflict management. This should be done regarding the German Government policy guidelines: preventing crises, resolving conflicts, building peace, and the interministerial strategies.

With this work project, the Advisory Board would like to anchor the conflicts in Eastern Europe more firmly in the German foreign and security policy agenda. Among the conflicts in which Berlin could demonstrate its power to shape policy, the unresolved conflicts in its eastern neighborhood are at the forefront. The core objective should be to identify and develop new options for German engagement in conflict management in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. These fields of action should include (security) political, diplomatic, economic, and civil society means.