Let the Nobel Peace Prize for the EU inspire us!
Today is the 10th of December, the day on which the European Union receives the Peace Nobel Prize. It is a prize hard earned. As Europeans we can be proud of the fact that not only the creation of the European Union, but the work from its citizens made war unthinkable in Europe.
At the same time, this achievement is a reminder that much remains to be done, and we must strive for more: more equality of gender, ethnicity and social classes, more voice for those who feel and are repressed, more opportunities for our young people, less boundaries and frontiers, no tolerance for extremism.
The European Union is an example that through the relentless practice of dialogue, it has gradually managed to create an intricate relations so deep that it has created enormous corresponding institutions, which tie us together. Although today, we sometimes complain about the ‘overburdening’ of European bureaucracy, it is also incredible to see how Europe has grown together in the recent decades.
The European Union is also an exporter of peace: it acts as a magnet of stability to its neighborhood and its experiences are an example to many in this world. The European Union has become the biggest donor in its world, thus sharing its wealth and its experiences. And yet, it can do even more.
As a signal that the European Union seeks to promote the peaceful resolution of conflict also worldwide, it adopted a concept on mediation and dialogue in 2009. This was the recognition of the dialogue processes that the EU has been participating in, promoted, supported and leveraged. It is a recognition that the EU commits itself to a systematic application of dialogue and mediation in conflict situations outside the EU; since then, the European External Action Service has created a Division solely responsible for conflict prevention, mediation and peacebuilding, mainstreaming dialogue and mediation as a practice within the EU networks and institutions.
As any peacemaker know —or should know—, it is the capacity to make inner peace that will assist us to make peace outside. For the EU, this has a number of implications: First, coming to terms with its past, and learning from it, and then sharing its experiences with the word, will make it a more authentic peacemaker rather than a ‘preacher’ of generic best-practices anywhere in the world. Second, if Europeans want to continue to make peace, we will have to cultivate our mindsets into it. Some peacemakers are born; most require education. All institutions in the European Union will benefit from an enhanced capacity in mediation and dialogue. Third, like the Nobel Peace Prize, Peace itself is not owned by anyone, but needs to embrace everyone. The EU will need to continue to transcend, share, encourage, and motivate to make peace happen. This in turn requires political will. The EU did not get a Peace Nobel Prize for its ability to forge political will for peacemaking in this world — instead the Prize should serve as a reminder and an inspiration that through the expression of a common political will the EU can leverage peace.
What unites our team at mediatEUr is our joint desire to make peace happen through the practice of dialogue and mediation. We share our specialized know-how and understanding — from different backgrounds and geographies, we advocate for the practice of peaceful means of conflict resolution, we build capacity, we strive to make people see different perspectives, and we try to draw lessons and propose the best ways of how to unleash the soft power of the EU.
Today is an inspiration and motivation to continue and even enhance our work.