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Balkanalysis.com Briefing with Josephine Liebl of the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office, June 2011

Brussels, Belgium- On June 20, 2011, Balkanalysis.com contributor Maja Šoštarić conducted a briefing with Josephine Liebl, Policy Officer at the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO) a network of NGOs active in promoting peace-building policies among European Union decision-makers.

In the briefing, Ms Liebl emphasized the EPLO’s five strategic policy objectives: 1) to ensure that conflict prevention and peacebuilding have a prominent place in the structures and institutions of the EU; 2) to secure increased resources for conflict prevention and peacebuilding; 3) to make the EU’s conflict prevention and peacebuilding more effective and hold the EU institutions to account; 4) to make EU development assistance more conflict-sensitive; and 5) to bring high-quality gender analysis into EPLO’s work and into EU policy-making.

Ms Liebl also discussed her job responsibilities regarding EU enlargement policies, which include coordinating a number of initiatives as well as organizing seminars and conferences related to the Western Balkans.

As an example of EPLO’s EU-accession-related work, Ms Liebl referred to the September 2010 Belgrade Seminar on EU Accession and Peacebuilding. The main objectives there were to discuss civil society’s expectations and concerns regarding the EU accession process’ impact on peacebuilding and conflict prevention in the Western Balkans, to provide participants with an overview of the relation between conflict and the EU accession process, to illustrate examples of advocacy on EU accession and peacebuilding and to develop suggestions on how the EU accession process could function as a catalyst for conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

In a similar vein, EPLO has long suggested the EU introduce a Peacebuilding Partnership into all financial instruments that cover regions affected by armed conflict, or with strong risk of conflict, such as the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA).

Moreover, in its work on the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) of the EU, EPLO looks closely at the EU peacekeeping and peace-building missions in conflict and post-conflict areas. EPLO has drafted a study on the accountability and effectiveness of CSDP missions, one example being EULEX (Kosovo).

Furthermore, in June 2011, EPLO organized a conference entitled ‘Women, Peace and Security in EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) Missions and Operations’, at which were present both representatives of the EU missions from Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR, EUPM) and Kosovo (EULEX), as well as civil society organizations.

The European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO) is the platform of European NGOs, NGO networks and think tanks committed to peacebuilding and the prevention of conflict. EPLO’s mission is to influence European decision-makers to take a more active and effective approach to securing peace and non-violent conflict resolution in all regions of the world.

The EPLO currently consists of 28 member organizations based both in the EU and in the Western Balkans, such as the International Crisis Group, International Alert, International Center for Transitional Justice, Kvinna till Kvinna, the Nansen Dialogue Network and Oxfam International.

Balkanalysis.com is an American research and analysis firm that provides dedicated coverage of the Balkan and Eastern Mediterranean regions, in areas ranging from politics and security to economics and culture. It draws on the expertise of its broad network of field analysts and reporters representing a number of various countries and professional backgrounds.

Balkanalysis Briefings is a regular series in which correspondents of Balkanalysis.com, sometimes in affiliation with partner organizations, engage with representatives of companies, governmental institutions, non-governmental groups and other organizations professionally involved with the Balkan and Mediterranean regions in order to gain insight into issues, trends and other factors affecting present and future developments in the area. This process contributes to better analytical and prognostic research, allowing Balkanalysis.com to better serve its readers, while also providing Briefings partners an opportunity to make their products, services and goals better and more clearly known among those most actively involved with the region.

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