This report marks the conclusion of the Stimson Center’s Transatlantic Dialogue on European Capacities for Peace Operations, an element of the Center’s Future of Peace Operations project. The Transatlantic Dialogue was launched to help bridge the transatlantic divide on building effective peace operations capacities. It did so through engagement of policy specialists and thinkers from Europe and the United States, gathered in “not-for-attribution” settings in a series of meetings and roundtables. The Stimson Center hosted a series of expert panelists from American and European NGO’s, the U.S. government, and the European Union. The roundtables and affiliated meetings gave visiting European speakers ample opportunity for lively and informative exchange with American experts and practitioners. The starting premise in all of these meetings was recognition that while European nations have made key contributions to conflict prevention and peacebuilding, Europe as a whole, particularly in the context of the European Union (EU), has the potential to do more to bridge the gap between capacity and need in peace operations.
This report tracks the evolution of EU capabilities to conduct peace operations under the aegis of the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) and its associated “headline goals” for military, police, and civilian contributions to peacekeeping, conflict management, and post-conflict reconstruction. It builds on topics considered and views expressed at Transatlantic Dialogue meetings in 2003 and both surveys and proposes measures to strengthen the European ability to conduct peace operations, noting both recent improvements in operational capacity and obstacles that remain in the path of operational change.