EWI Hosts Discussion on Managing Conflict in Europe and its Neighborhood

September 25, 2014

The EastWest Institute’s Brussels Center hosted a roundtable discussion entitled “Managing Conflict in Europe and its Neighborhood: Lessons Learnt and Future Prospects” on September 25, 2014.

Policy makers, academic experts and NGO-representatives reflected on previous cases of conflict management in Europe, specifically the Balkans, with a focus on the ongoing crisis in Eastern Ukraine.

The event consisted of two panel discussions: The first panel, chaired by Jonas Jonsson, Head of Division for Western Balkans European External Action Service, was on "Ethnic and National Conflict in Europe: the Case of the Western Balkans." The second panel, chaired by Georgi Pirinski, Member of the European Parliament, Former Foreign Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, was on "“Prospects for Managing and Overcoming the Ukraine Crisis.”

The session concluded with the prevalent view that, although the crisis in Ukraine is not yet at the conflict management stage, no time should be lost in preparing for reconciliation and trust-building efforts on all possible channels through constant dialogue and contact with all involved parties.

The outcome of the session included a number of "lessons learnt," which were summarized by conference chairman and EWI Vice President and Director of Regional Security Ambassador Martin Fleischer to include, among many others, the need for trust-building as a pre-condition for managing conflict, the responsibility of national governments to take matters of reconciliation and trust-building into their own hands, and the ability of joint historical and educational initiatives to overcome nation-centric and ethnocentric standpoints to work toward long-term reconciliation. 


Read the full event report, which includes the full list of discussion outcomes, on the EastWest Institute's website. 

Photo courtesy of EastWest Institute