THE ROLE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION FOR THE SETTLEMENT OF THE CONFLICT IN SYRIA
Ph.D., National Defense College, Sofia, Bulgaria, firstname.lastname@example.org
The article „The Role of the European Union for the settlement of the conflict in Syria” features the efforts made by the EU and the Member States to contribute to the settlement of the Syrian conflict, arguing that the political and diplomatic potential of the EU allows it to engage on a larger scale with the peace process, since the conflict’s implications have a significant impact on the European countries. A description is made of the EU-Syria relations prior to and immediately after the beginning of the conflict, including the framework of the Euro Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed), the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) as important platforms for political dialogue and economic and social cooperation. The article also outlines the restrictions EU introduced in 2011 upon certain companies and infrastructure projects in Syria, as well as the ban on exports of dual use goods, equipment and technologies for the oil and gas industries and some communication systems. An overview is made of the individual efforts of the lead Member States and the absence of a coherent allied strategy, which is partly due to the fact that the EU institutions proved unprepared for a scenario in which Bashar al-Assad remained in power. Further an argument is made that the Union could have acted jointly with other countries and regional powers involved in the conflict and could have taken non-military measures, for example to establish a Crisis Management Centre to coordinate the diplomatic efforts and humanitarian operations of both Member States and regional countries. Then, the article points to the financial contribution of the EU and Member States aimed to relieve the humanitarian situation on the ground and highlights the key aspects of the strategy “Towards a comprehensive EU approach to the Syrian crisis”, adopted by the Union in June 2013. Finally, the article concludes that it all depends on political will and particularly on the ability of the European leaders to find the synergy in their joint effort and prove that the EU is capable of playing a decisive role in the settlement of global and vitally important security issues.
Keywords: European Union, conflict, Syria, contribution.
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