In 2012, the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Throughout its long history, Europe has hardly been the most peaceful place in the world. The 20th Century was a particularly bellicose period for the continent, and the European project emerged in response to that. For its supporters, the Nobel prize was recognition of the success the EU has had as a peace project.

However, the world does not feel very peaceful at the moment. Since 2012, we’ve seen the violent rise and fall of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the genocide against the Rohingya in Myanmar, and the civil war in Ukraine (not to mention continuing conflicts in Afghanistan, Yemen, Nigeria, Darfur, Mexico, and many other parts of the world). Is violent conflict between and within states inevitable? Or can we make the world a more peaceful place?

What do our readers think? We had a comment from Sebastian who thinks the EU should be doing much more to make the world a safer, more peaceful place. There’s certainly plenty of chaos and uncertainty in the world today. Is there anything the EU can do to make the world more peaceful?

How can Europe promote peace around the world? We asked Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from all sides of the political spectrum to stake out their positions on this question, and it’s up to YOU to vote for the policies you favour. See what the different MEPs have to say, then vote at the bottom of this debate for the one you most agree with! Take part in the vote below and tell us who you support in the European Parliament!

Radical Left
Kostadinka Kuneva (GUE-NGL), Member of the European Parliament:

Preserving and promoting peace, both internally and externally, is the most crucial fundamental objective of the European Union since its inception. Today, perhaps more than ever, we must be reminded that the European Union is about peace. In the past two decades, the EU has been called to deal with geopolitical changes that have fuelled numerous crisis and military conflicts, most of them still ongoing today – some in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood. In this new global context of increasing conflicts and widening destabilisation across several regions, the EU needs to live up to its reputation as a soft power organisation that promotes peace through democratic dialogue and deliberation. Indirect or even direct political and military interventions carried out in the name of “freedom, peace and democracy” have led to chaos and disaster around the world.

We cannot repeat the same mistakes all over again – and I’m saying this also in view of the current situation in Venezuela. In order to inspire and help others to share its fundamental values of peace, democracy and human rights, the EU needs to set an example by facilitating the nonviolent resolution of conflicts through dialogue. Of course, the most effective means to promote peace is to tackle the root causes of conflicts and war. We have to do more to fight global poverty and provide all necessary help and support whenever and wherever it is needed in order to build a sustainable social environment which allows people to live a life in dignity, so that they don’t have to flee to us putting their lives in danger. This is not only a matter of principled commitment, but it is also the most reliable way to ensure peace and stability in Europe itself.

Heidi Hautala (Group of the Greens), Member of the European Parliament:

Liberal Democrats
Hilde Vautmans (ALDE), Member of the European Parliament:

Centre Right
György Schöpflin  (EPP), Member of the European Parliament:

Peter Lundgren (ECR), Member of the European Parliament:

Well, that is mainly by securing the Single Market. Trade agreements are one of the key issues to promote peace in the world, as long as you’re able to have good relations when you come to trading, it also means that will be good for upholding peace. So, for me it’s very much about trading. We must be able, from the European Union, to trade with the rest of the world, and that will also be a peacekeeping project.

Marco Zanni (ENF), Member of the European Parliament:

IMAGE CREDITS: (cc) / Flickr – EEAS; PORTRAIT CREDITS: Kuneva (cc) Flickr – GUE-NGL, Lundgren (cc) Frankie Fouganthin

Who do YOU agree with on this issue?


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98 comments Post a commentcomment

  1. avatar

    One we used be at war with each other, we’re not anymore. Most of the others not so much

  2. avatar

    If EU had hold on US or Russia it could certainly… however…

  3. avatar

    First, of all, lets keep peace in EU.

    • avatar

      I agree – you have to show what you stand for by being living proof of what you stand for. Peace and prosperity all over Europe, is a good place to start.

    • avatar

      You need a big stick to “keep” the peace. You make peace every day with your actions…

  4. avatar

    1. Learning to say no. 2. Leading not leaded. 3. Accepting diferences between nationalities 4. Respect all countries

  5. avatar

    Not bombing other countries.

  6. avatar

    We have a history of delivering death and destruction with the pretenses of doing good for the world. Let’s just stay home and bring back all Israhellies to their REAL native lands and other invaders appropriating lands in other continents, let’s do it for peace.

  7. avatar

    start accepting as members other Euroshphere countries like Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, … later Latin America

  8. avatar

    Becoming economically independent from external countries and not exploiting third world countries. Reducing import and exports and push all areas of the world by so, into having internal markets that will stabilize the world’s parts. Through economic stability it is possible to create political stability by redistributing wealth properly, as each country and area sees fit to their customs and cultures.

    Also enforcing its borders and internal connections but cutting all military exposures external to the EU territories. We can become serious about world peace only if we don’t park our troops in other countries.

  9. avatar

    Moral coherence rather than geostrategic coherence. Opening one’s mouth to decry human rights abuses when it suits one only to shut it when convenient ultimately does more harm than good, as it makes people think that any appeal for human rights is farcical.

  10. avatar

    Almost all wars are civil wars, and all civil wars are in dictatorships. We could get a lot tougher on dictatorships. Demand reforms and elections in return for trade or aid.

  11. avatar

    1. Stop funding and supporting conflicts in other countries (like Syria and Venezuela)
    2. Stop being USA’s warmongering puppet, seeking conflict with Russia.

    • avatar

      George Thomson 1)what? Who does that?
      2) Seeking conflict with Russia? Do you know what Russia is?

    • avatar

      1) even BBC confirmed that ISIS was armed with EU-made weapons, purchased by the Saudis and USA.
      EP just announced that they recognize Guido – a self-proclaimed “president”, and USA-interests puppet, who are trying to overthrow democratically elected government, and even attempted to assassinate their elected president – Maduro.
      2) Yes I know the country, were you thinking of something else? a cooking recipe maybe? :))
      If not you (we) should better thank them for stopping ISIS (which flourished under Obama).

    • avatar

      Russia was European enemy since imperial times, and always bit on its neighbours.

    • avatar

      That said Russia will be an enemy either with Europe being a US puppet or not…

  12. avatar

    All wars reduce the chances and the survival time of humanity.

  13. avatar

    The EU, NATO and the usual suspects should stop with all this regime change nonsense. The gig is up..As if the Globalists care. Everything is a lie.

  14. avatar

    By European countries exporting goods and know-how not arms.

  15. avatar
    EU Reform- Proactive

    Mainly through “exemplary” unity & level headed influence by all 47 CoE Members within the global UN!

    Before further commenting under this particular DE question, I would highly appreciate an expert advice on the “CoE” please!

    The ease by MEP’s of the EU27 switching between Europe= “CoE47= Council of Europe” and the “EU” seem to me having no bounds and no base! EU MEP’s believe they are entitled to act/speak on behalf of both bodies as & when it suits them! Are they?

    Besides- as referred to in the CoE CHAPTER IV, Article 13 “The Committee of Ministers” is the organ which acts (& speaks with “legal authority”) on behalf of the Council of Europe (CoE= 47 Members) in accordance with Articles 15 and 16.”……….. Who else- in addition to the above- can be taken seriously?

    Is the whole EU and all MEP’s entitled- and if- by which CoE ACT(ion) or Chapter?
    Has it become a free for all EU politicians to project limitless EU power?

    Once that technicality is sorted, more reality & less confusion would prevail.

    In the meantime let’s refresh the history & timeline of the “six decades peace effort” by the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate “EU”- just in Europe:

    * The youngest war in Europe was the “Yugoslav” war- lasting 10 years from 1991-2001- ending only 17 years ago.

    * WWII lasted 6 years- ending 73 years ago.

    *The Council of Europe (CoE) was founded on 5 May 1949 by the “Treaty of London”.
    * The ECSC was founded in 1951 under the “Treaty of Paris”
    * the EEC under the 1957 “Treaty of Rome”.
    * The EU was founded on 1 November 1993 under the “Treaty of Maastricht”.

    Facts are:

    * The EU was dazzled & could not prevent the Yugoslav war.
    * The CoE could not prevent it.
    * It required UN & NATO (US) assistance to pacify these European countries.
    * An “EU (offensive) army” would be the next EU inspired disaster- nothing to do with peace.
    * It’s main aim- it’s economy- seems to be forgotten.

    * Mr. György Schöpflin’s (EPP) comment impressed me most.
    * The rest are not worth mentioning!

  16. avatar
    leo hayes

    the EU is supporting an undemocratic regime change in Venezuela,. Totally unacceptable.

  17. avatar

    The Peace Prize has no credibility.

    • avatar
      Jan Winter

      Ever since palestinian terrorist and paedophile Yasser Arafat got it for not being a terrorist for a while.

  18. avatar

    “Islam holds a place in our Western societies. Islam belongs in Europe. It holds a place in Europe’s history, in our culture, in our food and – what matters most – in Europe’s present and future. Like it or not, this is the reality.”, – said Mogherini (the woman in the picture) in her address word at ‘Islam in Europe’. Read the complete article on the words of this insane lunatic that is paid with our money to give our children an islamic future:…/mogherini-islam…/

  19. avatar

    First by stop arming Turkey and drive Turkish troops out of Cyprus so we return back to our homes in the north occupied part of Cyprus

  20. avatar

    EU promote conflicts, violence and wars in Eastern Europe, Middle East and in North Africa

  21. avatar

    Leave democratic states alone?

  22. avatar

    That question asks the EU to behave like a global policeman. It is amazing what the post WW2 Europe has achieved. Let’s secure and enjoy our own peace and if others need help wade in when asked. Put your own oxygen mask on before willingly helping others.

  23. avatar

    They promote peace by bombarding the heck out of those states 😊

  24. avatar

    Stopping interfering in national businesses !

  25. avatar

    Start by getting rid of Mogherini

  26. avatar

    Islam means Peace. So, they can promote peace when they will accept islam firstly for themself and then they can spread it and so they will control also all pseudomuslim countries and people. But is a bit hard to understand this. Till then, with double reports, double face, they are not going to win nothing and even loosing what they won by leaving fake faiths.

  27. avatar

    Easy, it just decides who is the President of Venezuela and every other country in the world.

  28. avatar

    The last thing Europe needs is an army, that is the military wing of an organisation which has as its motto: ” United in Diversity.” A complete paradox, pregnant with all kinds of sinister scenarios. Europe has to reinvent itself. And it can begin to do this by jettisoning the idea of Political Union ( the EU ), and return to the Treaty of Rome of 1958.

  29. avatar

    It can start by becoming democratic.

  30. avatar

    first step fight corruption inside europe, then outside

  31. avatar

    It can start by promoting peace within it? O.o

  32. avatar

    Buy establishing the European Army.

    • avatar

      leading by who?

    • avatar

      common High Command, PESCO is a good start.

    • avatar

      The best way to war is to intend aggression!

    • avatar

      General Merkel, of course. ;)

    • avatar

      am I to assume that you are being funny.

  33. avatar

    It Will help the world if stop existing as EU….!
    A bank dictatorship can not be exist…..!

  34. avatar

    Cut all ties to Saudi Arabia and Israel and stop arming them and fighting their wars.

  35. avatar

    By staying in Europe and minding our own fu*king business and stop trying to shove our ways on to others around the world.

  36. avatar

    Not led by an unelected communist though

  37. avatar


  38. avatar
    Shadow Hand

    You produce weapons and export to terror regimes like Saudi Arabia, you support the politics of empire, you fight wars side by side with the USA. You don’t care about world peace. So stop pretending.

  39. avatar

    By not having a European army and by not destroying Ireland’s neutrality

    • avatar

      Small states of Europe can only secure peace under collective action in this global era. As we have seen from the Brexit, enterprises are panicking and recently the bankruptcy of airline flybmi is another example. What more crises need to prove the importance of collective security for Europe?

  40. avatar

    By stepping out of the NATO and create an European army and European police force next to national / local police.

    • avatar

      Let the U.S. fight and pay for its own wars.

  41. avatar

    If you want to change the world …START WITH YOURSELF FIRST EUROPE

  42. avatar

    By dropping neocolonialism , meddling in internal affairs of “developing” world …

  43. avatar

    If Europe is taking side with the US during this moment of great power confrontation with Russia and China, EU can never have independent decision making. Europe can never convince the world it is a peace promotion force when it is taking side.

  44. avatar

    The Iran Nuclear Deal is a proof that Europe has the power to free itself from the US threat and can stand up for world peace. A Europe-led peace talk is essential to promote regional peace. Peace talk can only be kicked off when state independence and sovereignty are respected.

  45. avatar

    I agree with many aspects already mentioned. The EU should immediately stop supporting regime-changing interventionist wars to make the US neocons “happy”. People aren’t buying the human rights, and protection/restoration of democracy arguments anymore, it’s more than obvious it’s about oil and the profit potential of corporations. It failed misrably and let to total chaos in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen, and it’s about to unravel in Venezuela once more. It was an absolutely scandalous decision of MEPs to support Guaido as the so-called president when he wasn’t elected by the citizens. Imagine if somebody had declared himself president of France or Germany, I wonder if MEPs would also act so swiftly with the recognition… Bottom line, EU should formulate an independent foreign policy regardless of the wishes of folks in Washington like John Bolton & co. and let the third countries freely decide for themselves who they want as the head of state/government.

    • avatar

      Trump might soon become another Nobel prize laureate for Peace too! Trump has told Shinzo Abe to do the nomination. Rebiya Kadeer the president of the World Uyghur Congress had almost won the Nobel Prize if she was not discovered to have relationship with East Turkistan Islamic Movement and ordered the terrorist attack at Xinjiang Urumqi in July 2009 which killed 198 and injured 1721 mostly Han Chinese. Freedom fighters of the US are very often terrorists of a nation. Freedom fighters of Ronald Reagan had turned to terrorists after the 11 Sept attack. If EU wants to promote world peace, EU has to free itself from ideology constraint since the Cold War.

  46. avatar

    Bearing in mind that Europe has failed to achieve peace on its own territory (see Brexit, etc) I am going to dispute its ability to promote peace around the world.

  47. avatar

    Europe cannot promote peace by standing at the side of the US such as in the Arab Spring and the current Guaido in Venezuela. EU failed to take action against US aggression, the influx of refugees and Brexit are the two desirable consequences, which have even led to instability of EU itself. Luckily Italy has voted against EU recognition of the Venezuela government established by the US.

  48. avatar

    According to the follow news from Reuters: The US is vigorously and deliberately doing the proliferation of nuclear in the Middle East. And at the same time, the Trump administration is offering territory of independent state, Syria to its ally Israel. It is authorizing president of independent state, Venezuela as well. US unilateralism appears to reach its climax and even going crazy, ignoring all international values, written and unwritten laws. As such Europe can only promote peace around the world by withdrawing its NATO membership. Otherwise, European people would be forced to fight wars and die for the American greatness.

  49. avatar

    If Europe wants to promote peace around the world, first all, stop believing US intelligence without questioning. Otherwise, Europe would go to war on American production of a small package of washing powder, and bombing Syria with a staged chemical weapon attack…

  50. avatar
    catherine benning

    How can Europe promote peace around the world?

    My question here is, why is the EU so obsessed with the rest of the world and its machinations? When, it is obvious the EU is in severe trouble being unable to satisfy the wishes of European people and their peace. What on earth makes this organisation so intent on keeping its eye on countries that do not want their interference in the way they run their lives and carry out their foreign policy? Of course, this is to be done via the tax payers of Europe, who would really like to have the money they work hard to make, used on their behalf. Leave the rest of the world to look after itself and allow them to raise money via their own people to take care of their business and states peaceful existence.

    My suggestion would be, look after the people who are paying your wages and leave the rest of the world to choose their own way of life and peaceful activity. Every penny you spend outside our own European environment is less spent on matters offering inferior services at home. Hence the progression we see of sinking civilisation in neighbourhoods we live in. To use our money outside our own sphere is theft.

    It’s the old lark of buy a ticket, at exorbitant prices, to watch ‘your’ local football team replaced by all and sundry around the world and keep you mouth shut about it. Then find there are very few connected to it that are part of your local community. In fact, all the money you’ve spent supporting this outfit, leaves your own locals poorer as these imports climb toward incredible wealth, on your outlay.

    This is happening in all parts of Europe associated with the well being of their own culture and social cohesion, which in many areas, has become impossible to keep on an even keel. Why would the EU want to expand on this unfortunate experience being forced on their society by now enlarging on their already failed experience of peace keeping? The Nobel prize has taken on the name of con trickery.

  51. avatar

    No way…the money have the power! 😬

  52. avatar

    Let’s set reasonable goals, like – stop importing jihadists, stop provoking military and economic confrontation with Russia, stop exporting weapons and arming islamists (like the Saudis and ISIS).
    I guess we need a new EU to make this happen, don’t we?
    That is why we will VOTE for a new EU.

  53. avatar

    How can Europe promote peace in Europe first …should be your concern.

  54. avatar

    Being Europe. Leading our role. Defending our interests. Courage to face our partners or friends when we desagree. Proud to be european from the Atkantic to Urals.

  55. avatar

    Maybe a good starting point would be to stop selling bulks of arms and weapons to Saudi-Arabia… But what do I know as a simple masters student…

  56. avatar

    Well, the first it was something called colonizing

  57. avatar

    When states are trying to justify aggression with all sorts of beautiful words such a freedom and liberty, human rights and democracy, all wars can be just wars. So, it is important to remember that no war can be justified for it kills. War must be abandoned as a means to solve conflicts. The Japanese is the first country which has been upholding a peace constitution, which has abandoned to use war to solve conflict. It is the first and only one constitution in human history, which we ought to treasure. Unfortunately, Abe Shinzō is trying to destroy it because he thinks that Japan is not a normal state with only a self-defensive force. He has now created an army. As we can see everything is just how we interpret.

  58. avatar

    Religion is another major source of conflict. But religion is never something that promote hostility by itself. Religion has been mobilized as a weapon, a cause to justify conflict and to justify power relationship. As we have seen for over 1000 years, different sects of the Muslims have been fighting against each others. This is not religion that has sustained such conflict. Religion and sects are not the cause of the many conflicts, I believe it has been manipulated by people while struggling for power and interests. Isn’t this unethical?May be Europe can promote peace by starting to harmonize religious conflicts in the Middle East. I really do not see why history of more than 1000 years ago can still dictate contemporary history. Religion and civilization does not by itself a source of conflict. It is only a fabrication.

  59. avatar

    Trump’s trade war should not be seen purely as a trade conflict, it might actually developed into military conflict. As we have been warned by more than 1000 economists that Trump’s trade view echo errors leading to the Great Depression of the 1930s (
    What following the Great Depression is the rise of dictators and Fascism and then World War II. As Trump called himself the greatest president ever in the history of the USA, he might actually want to make the America Great Again with a third world war. This is why Trump’s trade war is directed towards China. The Jerusalem issue, the Gaza issue, Venezuela, Taiwan Straits, South China Sea are all issues that can easily get out of control. As we have seen that World War II has saved the USA from the Great Depression and turned the country into a superpower. Trump might actually see World War III an opportunity making himself the greatest president ever in the American history. Europe might actually need to take action quickly so as to prevent the world falling into another Great Depression, rather than watching the development of the trade war between the world’s largest and second largest economy. Besides, try not to fuel the conflict between the two countries in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait. China can tolerate lower economic growth but never the lost of sovereign territory.

  60. avatar
    Andreu miquel Ginestet

    Choose a Peace Expert for the Role of the Presidency of the EU-Commission

    • avatar

      Peace cannot be achieved with one single individual. It needs to be internalized, which is, all European citizens up hold the value of peace and peaceful resolution for internal and international conflicts.

  61. avatar

    If Europe wants to promote peace around the world, establish itself an Europe army to safeguard world peace and withdraw from NATO. Because NATO is under the military command of a declining hegemon and it has determined to use its military might to preventing its decline rather than adopting this new world order when all over the world wants peace and prosperity.

  62. avatar

    It Europe wants to promote peace, please tell Shinzō Abe to stop abolish the world’s first peace constitution. It is the first constitution which decline to using war to solve international conflict. What Europe needs to do is to sanction Japan if it abolish its peace constitution. In this way, Japanese conservative forces would be forced to cease using its constitution to mobilize political support. Besides, to protect the Iran Nuclear Deal, which is essential to free Europe from nuclear threat and prevent large scale regional conflict break out from the Middle East . This is the only way to prevent the recurrence of a third devastating world world breaking out near Europe. Europe cannot afford fighting a third world war.

  63. avatar

    Maybe start working in finding peace and union inside our own borders first before trying to change the world. Just an idea.

  64. avatar

    1) – criminalize any kind of “regime change assistance” abroad
    2) – Sanction USA
    3) – end NATO, which only fabricates confrontations with Russia and now China

  65. avatar

    Just, Peace is the most important value in the EU. We all have to remember that and show that, even sceptics.

  66. avatar

    Europe can bring peace around the world if it stops playing the USA’s games.

  67. avatar

    Self-haters in Europe are increasing hate for everything European so much that Europe won’t even make it to keep peace within itself, other than helping peace around the world.
    1. How can you promote peace through humanist values if you denigrate the very civilization that created those values?
    2. Why are you picking only on the wars which lands from Europe caused? Why is European history worse than the rest of the world? How can it even be?
    Nothing you don’t feed (reward) can grow.

  68. avatar

    Seemingly a lot of past and present conflicts can be traced back to the British and French drawing of borders on their colonial territories and elsewhere. Those straight lines might look simple on maps, but they cut through ethnic, cultural and geographical regions that should be one organically but are separated artifically.
    Another unresolved example for badly drawn borders is the conflict about Crimea, the whole thing can be traced back to how the border of the Ukrainian Soviet member republic was drawn in early communist times. And when the USSR broke up, they didn’t consider ethnic borders.
    The EU diplomats should motivate territorial exchanges, perhaps purchases between nations, so that border modifications don’t remain a taboo as they are today. With such different approach a lot could be achieved.

  69. avatar

    We are not responsible of the world.. Let’s focus on Europe

  70. avatar

    So, you think there’s been peace in europe these last 30 years or so…tell that the various states of the former republic of Yugoslavia.or of Georgia….Crimea.. eastern Ukraine …..or perhaps they dont count as Europe?

  71. avatar

    First you should understand Europe, like that you wouldnt try to make debates starting with the nonsense you just wrote.

    • avatar

      You are implying to start off a debate by taking for granted that Europe was a source of war in the world. That starts off leading the debate in the wrong direction, for Europe had an objective to stop wars trying to obtain harmony.
      Yet Europe overdone that try, leading to risk Europe for the well being of others.

  72. avatar

    EU ,must promote peace in Europe first of all.
    The policies of the burocrats are infuriating people.
    STOP, the political correctness, the racist agenda, and many things brought from the USA. ” antifas” ” BLM”.

  73. avatar

    Europe can promote peace with the same values ​​that made it grow and set an example for the world. family values, European values, crib values, respect, duties and rights.

  74. avatar

    Not working out particularly well so far !

  75. avatar
    JT HK

    By “promoting peace” around the world, Europe appears to be risking vulnerable people’s life of Europe, specifically the poor and old ones through its sanction of Russian fuel gas and food. Even worse, this large scale sanction is implemented just after the large scale COVID death… When EU is helping American great again, leaders are turning blind eye to the hardship, health and life issue confronting their own citizen..Shame on you!

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