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ZEI Discussion Paper C 264 / 2021

Jette Knapp: Struggling to Find a Recipe for Peace – Ten Years of European Initiatives to End the Conflict in Syria

ZEI Discussion Paper C 264 / 2021

Ten years into the conflict in Syria, the EU continues to be the biggest donor of humanitarian aid but hesitant in terms of military involvement and still struggles to establish peace on the ground. The question is why the EU, despite its relatively unsuccessful track record in Syria, has not significantly stepped up its commitment. Besides external impacts, this is caused by internal factors, which, at times, have had a paralysing effect on the entire EU. These factors include the unanimity voting in the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, which makes foreign policy decisions prone to blocking by single Member States and external influencing. They also include contradicting goals and interests of individual Member States. Moreover, there are global events seemingly unconnected to the Syrian conflict that have had an impact on the EU’s engagement.

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