In March 2014 the European Union earmarked 2.3 billion euros to prevent civilian conflict and help promote peace. The IcSP (Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace) funds were to last until 2020 and were to be used in three main areas: crisis response, conflict prevention, and strategies to deal with emerging threats to peace and stability.
Since 2014, these funds have been used to support over 200 projects in 72 countries. In the Kivu region of the DR Congo, funds have been used to build a network of community leaders trained in peaceful dialogue, who step in where the government has mostly stepped aside. In Haiti, an IcSP project provides training and psychosocial support for marginalised communities affected by violence. In Iraq, over 3 million euros have been dedicated to ensuring that counter-terrorism strategies remain respectful of human rights.
However, the European Commission has recently started discussions on whether a new article should be introduced to the IcSP, directing a portion of its budget towards supporting military activity in some of the countries where it acts. This “enhanced” support for security and stability could include security training, capacity building programmes, and the provision of “non-lethal” equipment.
Security is clearly an important part of peace, and in areas touched by conflict, the safety of civilians is a huge concern. However, to use the military to address these concerns, particularly within a budget specifically devoted to peace and reconciliation, is deeply worrying. Not only would this risk the prioritisation of military spending and projects, but to aim for peace by military means is contradictory and detrimental.
You can call on the EU to uphold peaceful principles and keep peace and military budgets separate by writing to your MEP.
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