Promoting reconciliation, preventing security threats – research towards peaceful coexistence between minorities and majorities in Europe
With Europe on the path to peaceful unity, conflict transformation gives way to post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation. In many cases, tension laden politics become politics of diversity management. At the same time new modes of mobilization as well as recurring mobilization or refocused mobilization resurface in many areas.
Our attention to varied models of reconciliation is vital in post-conflict areas, while issues of civil security need greater attention where conflicts have become rigidified. State and nation building remain enduring topics that require fresh approaches in an era of European integration and norm diffusion through external policies.
We address perceived security threats in contemporary Europe
In the field of international state-building and reconstruction efforts the question of security is quite often reduced to the application of various security sector reforms (SSR). While this has every justification in war-torn societies or failed states, most countries in Europe (i.e. Bosnia, Kosovo) have passed that stage. Therefore conflict and security issues cannot be limited to judicial and police reforms but have to go beyond.
We believe that any efforts of minority-majority reconciliation have to address the issue of perceived security threats. Post conflict societies need institutions that are regarded as trustworthy and reliable by all citizens. The cases of the Baltic States or Slovakia exemplify that, while minority legislation might have improved in the past years, this cannot be said for the actual inter-communal relations between various ethnic groups in those countries.
Mission and reach
The Conflict & Security cluster addresses the underlying shift from conflict transformation to sustainable development. Most post-communist countries have transformed into viable democracies with more or less stable economies and viable legislative and administrative institutions. However, this cannot always been asserted with regard to societal transformation, coming to terms with the past and reconciliation between various ethnic or national minorities.
At the same time, the Conflict & Security cluster monitors developments in European countries that still need to address questions of conflict transformation and traditional state-building. Among those are Belorussia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and to a lesser extent Kosovo.
In addition the cluster aims to assess others activities that might go beyond the present geographical limitation of our mandate. ECMI’s past experience has resulted in a unique expertise on minority issues that might be useful in transformation endeavors in neighboring geographic areas.
Research is the Conflict & Security cluster’s core activity. Europe has a wide array of past experiences with conflicts, conflict transformation and reconciliation. The Research & Security cluster aims to draw more attention to those experiences and widen the ECMI’s geographical scope to Western Europe, while at the same time continuing work in those countries ECMI has previously engaged in.