Exporting peace? The EU mediator’s normative backpack
European law open, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 26-59
NOUWEN, Sarah Maria Heiltjen, Exporting peace? The EU mediator’s normative backpack, European law open, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 26-59 - http://hdl.handle.net/1814/74423
Retrieved from Cadmus, EUI Research Repository
On the occasion of the launch of the European Law Open, this article analyses two policy documents of the European Union (EU) on its ambitions in peace mediation, to think about what it could mean for European law to be open to the world. Reading these documents – ‘the Concepts’ – through the lens of the theme that I have been assigned for this opening issue – ‘Europe in the world’ – one discerns an outward-looking EU searching for a greater role in the international field of peace mediation. One also sees instances of eurocentrism: a set of assumptions about the superiority of European (or ‘western’) ways of knowing and doing. In these Concepts, the EU envisages sending EU mediators into the world – either to mediate themselves or to support mediation efforts by others. The Concepts also contain increasingly long lists of EU values to be carried along and distributed during peace mediation. But the Concepts do not consider that in the countries where the EU mediator arrives, this backpack filled with normative baggage may bring other associations. Without more explicit recognition of the EU’s obstinate baggage, the EU is unlikely to be an effective peace mediator or, indeed, a credible global actor. More generally, critical reflexivity could help the EU to address the lingering Eurocentric tendencies that these Concepts reveal. Such critical questioning by the EU of its own assumptions, as well as learning from perspectives from outside the EU or the past, can be a process of focusing on Europe in order to decentre it. That, then, could also be a mission for this bold new European journal.
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 06 April 2022
Cadmus permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/1814/74423
Full-text via DOI: 10.1017/elo.2022.9
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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