The European Union was established as a direct result of a war torn and broken continent that was suffering as a result of two World Wars. The EU was created to stabilise and unite these countries that had been at war with one and other for nearly half a century. The union began with six main members and has grown to a strong 28 country unit.
The EU is a model that demonstrates continents can live in peace with one and other, and it proves that even despite years of conflict the countries can move forward and live in a peaceful coexistence. This could be said that this reconciliation has earned them the right to be a respected influence internationally, particularly with peace building and security issues across the globe.
As a large 28 country strong unit, the EU has to ability to promote peaceful causes and prevent international conflict effectively. Following Brexit, and the loss of the UK, both the EU and the UK may both separately struggle to make an effective difference to global peace without the full support and funding of one and other.
Global Peace Index reported that 92 countries deteriorated from peace between 2016-2017. Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Iraq and Somalia are the least peaceful countries in the world, with many other countries remaining in protracted warfare. The funding, expertise and general peace and security that the EU and UK together could help provide to these countries is indispensable.
What does the EU do for International peace and security?
The EU together with its country members is the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid.
The group has taken part in many overseas operations, that seek to keep peace, prevent conflict and strengthen international security. The organisation helps over 120 million a year worldwide, as a result of manmade and natural disasters.
Beyond this, the EU has an immense global influence. One set of research argues that “highly structured international organisations – of which the EU is one example – becomes an important actor shaping the choices of conflict parties, in civil wars and interstate disputes alike”.
Could it all be that bad after Brexit?
Although it is possible that Brexit could leave a damaging hole in the upcoming EU budgets and could lead to some cuts on existing programmes as a result. It doesn’t look all that bad. The Financial Times has reported that due to a predicted increase in Gross National Income meaning it will be higher between 2121-27 compared to 2014-20, remaining nations can stay within their 1% pay rate to the EU, without too much hassle following the loss of the UK funding support.
Any ongoing EU Projects within the current budget up until 2020 will continue to include the UK in of all EU funds. There is also a possibility that the UK can receive funding and general participation in future projects which allow for non-EU member support.
More so, the UK will continue to be able to apply for development cooperation instrument funding, as one Bond employee highlights, for programmes in the world’s poorest countries even after Brexit. However as they go on to say, this only goes so far as this does not make up for the lack of shared expertise between the UK and EU.
There is no denying that losing the collaboration between the UK and the EU is going to cause some serious changes. However, similarly to Brexit itself, what will happen within international peace following Brexit is unknown.
What local activist and support for peace groups can continue to do in order to promote UK’s views of promoting international peace and refuge where possible, is stay united throughout the process and continue to voice their opinions for a passive and peaceful world.