Why peacekeeping matters to Europe

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Peace, Security & Defence
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Why peacekeeping matters to Europe

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The United States’ ambassador to the United Nations called on Europeans to contribute more to peacekeeping missions, at a time when aggressive states and non-state actors threaten security near the continent’s borders.

In 2015 we live in a time of myriad crises, and the U.S. and Europe have a vital stake in curbing conflicts,” Samantha Power told a Friends of Europe Conversation event on 9 March. “These new challenges and responsibilities are the reason that the UN needs European troops more than ever

Power pointed out that conflicts can disproportionately hurt people who are poor and marginalised. She praised recent French action in Mali and the Central African Republic, as a result of which there had been less bloodshed than there would have been without France’s intervention.

Currently, she said, more demands are being placed on UN peacekeepers than at any time in history. However, European participation in UN peacekeeping operations had fallen from 40% of troops 20 years ago to less than 7%. “European countries have drawn back from peacekeeping”.

She said European militaries could benefit from participation in UN missions by honing their battle skills and testing their equipment – something they had been doing in Afghanistan until the NATO-led mission there wound down. “There is no substitute for experience in theatre,” she said.

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