Svenja Wolter, Anna Miriam Leiberich  - The EU Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Training Landscape – an Overview

Zeitschrift für Beratungs- und Managementwissenschaften
Ausgabe 2017/01
ISSN 2312–5853

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Svenja Wolter 1, 2 , Anna Miriam Leiberich 1, 2

The EU Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Training Landscape – an Overview


In den 1990er Jahren begann die Europäische Union, nebst einem verstärkten Engagement für Konfliktprävention und Friedenskonsolidierung jenseits ihrer Außengrenzen, ihre Policy für internationales Krisenmanagement zu entwickeln. Damit einher ging ein Anstieg der Nachfrage nach gut ausgebildetem Personal, woraufhin die EU eine Reihe von politischen Institutionen und Initiativen für Training erschuf, insbesondere im Bereich des zivilen Krisenmanagements. Heutzutage stellen das Europäische Sicherheits- und Verteidigungskolleg (ESVK), in dem alle 28 Mitgliedsstaaten vertreten sind, und der Kooperationsverbund ENTRi mit zwölf Trainingsinstitutionen, die wichtigsten Trainingsakteure auf EU Ebene dar. Die hohe Anzahl und Vielfalt der beteiligten Organizationen sowie die unterschiedlichen Trainingskapazitäten und Interessen der Mitgliedstaaten stehen jedoch einem vereinheitlichten Training und einer gemeinsamen europäischen Sicherheitskultur im Weg. In diesem auf der Recherche des EU-geförderten Projektes basierenden Artikel soll die EU-Trainingslandschaft näher betrachtet und erläutert werden.


In the 1990s, the European Union started shaping its policies for international crisis management, alongside an increased engagement in conflict prevention and peacebuilding beyond its borders. Consequently the demand for trained personnel has grown. Therefore, the EU has created a number of bodies and initiatives for training, especially for civilian crisis management. The network college ESDC, with all 28 Member States represented, as well as the training initiative ENTRi of twelve training organizations are key stakeholders of today’s training landscape. However, the diversity, number of actors, different training capabilities and interest of Member States present a challenge for harmonized training and the creation of a Common European Security Culture. This article, based on research under the EU-funded project, aims to unravel the EU training landscape.
Keywords: Training in Konfliktprävention und Peacebuilding in Europa, ENTRi, ESDC, CSDP Training Policy

1 Center for Conflict Studies, University of Marburg
2 The authors wish to thank Professor Dr. Thorsten Bonacker (University of Marburg), Kai Brand Jacobsen (PATRIR) and Andra Tanase (PATRIR) for their comments.
Korrespondenz über diesen Artikel ist zu richten an E-Mail: peacetrainingⒶ

1. Introduction

In consequence of the rising engagement in international conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities of the European Union (EU), the demand for trained personnel is growing steadily. Since the 1990s, the EU has emerged as a regional actor, intervening in its neighbourhood and beyond for crisis management.3 In 2017, there are sixteen Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions / operations - six military operations and nine of civilian character, with more than 5000 deployed personnel (EEAS, 2016a). This number includes military, police and civilian mission staff, but excludes hundreds of EU civil servants, diplomats and other staff members working in EU delegations, envoys of Special Representatives and other fields like Conflict Early Warning. Initially, training was decentralized and the responsibility of each EU Member State (MS). The training scene changed in the early 2000s, when countries like Sweden and Germany, created governmental bodies to organize training and coordinate civilian crisis management. In 2004, the EU released a training concept for CSDP (PSC, 2004). Also at EU-level, emphasis shifted to strengthen civilian capacities for crisis management – although the deployment of military operations is still up on top of the EU’s menu. Since 2005, the most important stakeholder on the operational level in training has been the European Security and Defence College (ESDC)4. This college connects ministries of defence, national military academies and other bodies of the 28 EU MS for the harmonization of training cultures through the implementation of joint training programmes. Its goal is to foster a Common European Security Culture. More recently, Europe’s New Training Initiative for Civilian Crisis Management (ENTRi) was initiated for a coordinated approach to training for civilian staff in international crisis management missions (European Union but also United Nations, African Union etc.).
This rapidly evolving field of training actors and initiatives in Europe, as well as the entangled, complicated structures and responsibilities at the EU and Member States level, call for a clarifying overview. This article seeks to shed light on the different stakeholders, their understanding of conflict prevention and peacebuilding, their training approaches, and particular challenges to the EU training sector. The paper starts by outlining the scope and background of this analysis and proceeds to explain the terms of conflict prevention and peacebuilding (CPPB) and the EU’s approach towards them. In the following, different training actors, initiatives and responsibilities are introduced. Subsequently, a critical reflection on challenges concerning training for crisis management is provided.
3 The EU uses the terminology of crisis management to refer to the whole spectrum of intervention in intra- and inter-state conflicts.
4 The EEAS is the European Union’s diplomatic service. It assists the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to execute the Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy (EEAS, 2016b).

2. Background and Scope of this Article

This article is based on the Baseline Analysis Report, conducted under the EU-funded project (Horizon 2020 Project, Ref: 700583)5. The project aims to optimize training related to peacebuilding and conflict prevention. It ultimately seeks to strengthen the capacities of EU, governmental institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), police and military as well as private sector stakeholders in peace training. The first project phase concentrates on the review and analysis of existing training stakeholders and approaches to training in CPPB. In focus are programmes that target police, military and civilian personnel, NGO staff, policy makers, diplomats, mission staff and civil servants from Member States or relevant EU institutions; and other practitioners who are expected to be involved in international crisis management activities.
The analysis at hand is based on a literature review and desktop research of primary and secondary sources, namely policy documents, academic literature, reports and websites of training stakeholders. Of interest to the project and this article are training providers and programmes in conflict prevention and peacebuilding for policy makers and practitioners. Academic programmes are not considered.
For a better understanding, the terms conflict prevention and peacebuilding are equated with crisis management in this article. The following chapter provides a closer look at the understanding of these concepts and related activities of the EU.
5 The content of this article reflects the opinion of the authors.

3. EU Discourse and Policy of Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding

While practice and policy making has engaged extensively with the terms over the last 25 years, there is currently no universally accepted, clear-cut definition of either conflict prevention or peacebuilding in the political or academic discourse. Nonetheless, there is an emerging consensus around core areas and elements of policies and operational practice in CPPB. The United Nation’s discourse and practice serves as an important reference point, since it provides the overall international legal and political framework as well as operational structures for the practice of conflict prevention and peacebuilding. According to the UN Secretary General, conflict prevention “consists of efforts to stop violent conflict from breaking out, avoid its escalation when it does and avert its deterioration after the fact” (UNSC, 2015, p.4). This definition evidently entails an overlap between conflict containment / management – through for instance peacekeeping – and ‘post-war’ activities, which under traditional and earlier UN and academic understanding would be addressed through peacebuilding (Ramsbotham et al., 2016). However, based upon feedback and operational lessons-learned over the last 20 years, contemporary training and practitioner organizations have evolved their understanding of these terms. It is worth noting that some prevention instruments may also be implemented during periods of conflict escalation and actual armed conflict. Then stakeholders may intervene with a spectrum of measures to mitigate or prevent the i) further spread or ii) further intensification of violence through for example mediation between conflicting parties or deployment of peacekeeping capacities. These measures could then still be considered as prevention, as they aim to contain the spread or prevent the intensification of violence. An important recognition in the field is that several instruments and measures are relevant in different phases / conditions of conflict, though their modus of implementation and goals may be different in different periods.
Peacebuilding is a likewise vague concept in terms of its applicability in different phases and instruments falling under it. The UN identifies peacebuilding as a complex, long-term process, aiming at reducing “the risk of lapsing or relapsing into conflict by strengthening national capacities at all levels for conflict management, and to lay the foundation for sustainable peace and development” (UN Peacekeeping, 2017, emphasis added). Again, this definition contains elements of prevention. If considering peacebuilding measures as aiming at the creation of and support for conditions for peace within state and society, then prevention measures become an important dimension of peacebuilding relevant to contexts not only in war or post-war conditions, but also in strengthening conditions of peace and resilience. International organizations (IOs) have often just responded ad hoc to this fast developing field and concepts, by adopting and focussing on different elements of prevention and peacebuilding at different times. However, some IOs have systematically developed strategies, doctrines and action plans as well as integrated mechanisms for evaluation regarding the instruments.
The EU has only relatively recently shaped its "peace profile", engaging beyond European borders in crisis management.6 In the 1990s, the EU started developing its image and policies for conflict prevention and peacebuilding beyond its borders: The Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)7 are the central pillars for EU activities in this area. Over the past decade, the terms conflict prevention and peacebuilding were consolidated in the EU’s rhetoric. While conflict prevention is enshrined in EU policies, peacebuilding is neither explicitly mentioned in the EU treaties, nor is there a European peacebuilding strategy (Blockmans et al., 2010; Stamnes, 2016). To give an example on the lack of detailed and coherent public communication regarding peacebuilding, the website of the European External Action Service (EEAS) gives a very scarce overview of peacebuilding, only mentioning the EU’s role as trading partner and aid donor (EEAS, 2017). Nonetheless, peacebuilding is reflected in instruments, which the EU may employ for stabilization and countering lapse and relapse into armed conflict.8 The Draft European Union Programme for the Prevention of Violent Conflicts of 2001 and especially the Council Conclusions on Conflict Prevention of 2011 outline that the EU’s conflict prevention activities are based on the early identification of risk of violent conflict as well as an improved understanding of conflicts, its root causes, stakeholders, dynamics and conflict-sensitive programming for cooperation in foreign policy. More generally, the EU may resort to political, diplomatic, military, civilian, trade / economic, developmental and humanitarian aid channels to respond to inter-state or intra-state disputes and tensions. These activities have short- and long-term dimensions, which also depend on the mandating and implementing EU body (Blockmans et al., 2010). The European Commission can act through its Directorate–Generals and the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP)9 for instance supporting long-term peace development initiatives (Stamnes, 2016). Temporary civilian and military crisis management missions under the CSDP are mandated, prepared and deployed under the European External Action Service (EEAS). Many CSDP missions / operations, or elements of them, fall under peacebuilding as they aim to counter lapse or relapse into violence. The mission / operation tasks include

  1. humanitarian aid and rescue,
  2. violence prevention and peacekeeping and
  3. military crisis management (for example disarmament) (Lauffer et al., 2016).

CSDP missions / operations may also include the deployment of civilian experts, such as judges and political advisors, law enforcement agents (police) and military personnel (from ground troops to military observers). Currently there are six military operations and nine civilian missions inter alia in Mali, Kosovo, Ukraine and Somalia (EEAS, 2016b). Under conflict prevention policies, the EU runs a Conflict Early Warning System for risk management, which is intended to close the gap between early warning and early action (EEAS, 2014a). It involves EU staff across headquarters and in-country offices for a joint assessment process that incorporates recommendations and follow-ups for action. Furthermore, the EU promotes the systematic use of conflict analysis, notably in fragile and conflict-prone countries (Council of the European Union, 2001). The European Commission and EEAS (2013) have published a Guidance note on the use of Conflict Analysis in support of EU external action, which lists tools of fragility assessments and political economy analysis as part of the conflict analysis. Additionally, at the political and diplomatic level, the EU can mediate between conflicting parties through its posted 139 delegations, offices and EU Special Representatives all around the world.
For all the activity and tasks above, the EU relies on seconded and contracted mission staff, diplomats, civil servants, military advisors, police officers, national policy makers etc. To enhance a coherent and common approach to these conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities, a European training framework has evolved.

5 The content of this article reflects the opinion of the authors.
6 For more information on the EU’s history on conflict prevention and peacebuilding see Blockmans et al. (2010), Stamnes (2016) or Gross & Juncos (2011).
7 Under the Lisbon Treaty (2009) the European Security and De-fence Policy (ESDP) of 1999 was renamed into Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).
8 For example, see the Petersberg tasks, which cover disarmament missions, humanitarian and rescue tasks, military advice and assis-tance tasks, tasks of combat forces in crisis management, conflict prevention and peacekeeping tasks, including peace-making and post-war stabilization (EUR-Lex, 2016).
9 The IcSP is a financial tool of the Commission, which offers rapid short-term funding for civilian measures during emergencies as well as long-term stabilization and development activities. It is the suc-cessor of the Instrument for Stability (Stamnes, 2016).

4. The EU Training Approach, Actors and Initiatives

4.1. EU Training Policy

To give training in conflict prevention and peacebuilding a policy framework, the Council of the European Union adopted the EU Training Policy and Training Concept in 2003 and 2004 (PSC, 2004). This training framework applies to the context of CSDP missions and related activities in the field, such as EU delegations. Given extensive development of the European training landscape, its actors, and institutional and conceptual changes in the past decade, the Training Concept needed revision. The Crisis Management and Planning Directorate (CMPD)10 has drafted a new policy for CSDP training activities, which is currently under review and will be made publicly available in 2017.
The EU Training Concept of 2004 stipulates a coordinated and holistic approach to training by creating and fostering synergies between all training activities at the EU-level and complementary national training initiatives. It also places emphasis on the improvement of civil-military cooperation (Rehrl & Weisserth, 2013 in CSDP Handbook). The Concept of 2004 then laid the foundation for the European Security and Defence College (PSC, 2004). Around the same time the European Police College (CEPOL), renamed in 2016 into European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training, was created for coordinated and joint training of police forces of EU Member States. The main responsibility of training under CSDP lies with the Member States, who are represented at the ESDC.Training is generally structured into four types: basic, advanced, pre-deployment training and in-mission / induction training. According to the EU Training Concept of 2004, the target group of CSDP training is personnel with a civilian, police and military background from Member States or relevant EU institutions, and those who are expected to be involved in CSDP crisis management. The training audience also includes the leadership and strategic levels from EU and EEAS bodies as well as staff from the operational level of CSDP missions and EU delegations. In the following, the actors and initiatives are given a closer examination.

4.2. European Union Member States

All Member States contribute to conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities as well as training, insofar as they are all members of the ESDC. However, the Member States’ governmental structures and institutions, which deal with CPPB training, vary greatly. The Nordic states as well as Germany, Slovenia, Austria and the Netherlands have developed strong capabilities, creating unique and / or strengthening existing institutions for training in civilian CSDP, such as the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) in Sweden, Centre for European Perspective (CEP) in Slovenia, the Crisis Management Centre (CMC) in Finland or the Centre for International Peace Operations (ZIF) in Germany. Other Member States, especially smaller ones like Croatia or Estonia, are solely represented at EU-level CPPB through their defence ministries or military academies. As explained further below, this brings up a number of challenges.

4.3. European Network College - ESDC

The ESDC is the central training organizer and provider and all 28 Member States are represented in this network college. The college depends on the support of national training institutes and sending authorities (EU bodies or Member States), who bear the participation course fees as well as travel and accommodation costs. Between its foundation in 2005 and 2015, 8,000 military, police and civilian personnel (including civil servants, diplomats & mission staff) have been trained through ESDC (Rehrl & Glume, 2015, further referred to as CSDP Handbook Missions & Operations 2015). The training demands on part of the Member States increased, and consequently the ESDC extended its training catalogue from 71 to 77 residential courses from 2015 to 2016, and a total of 5,292 civilian and military staff participated in training programmes, including residential courses, Internet-based Distance Learning (IDL) and Military Erasmus (EEAS, 2015a). The courses catalogue ranges from high-level courses for senior staff in issue like EU comprehensive crisis management and gender, to advanced courses in Security Sector Reform (SSR) and mission planning to orientation courses with thematic or regional foci for administrative and working level staff (CSDP Handbook, 2013 and CSDP Handbook Missions & Operations, 2015).

4.4. Training for Civilian Crisis Management - ENTRi

Europe’s New Training Initiative for Civilian Crisis Management (ENTRi) was created in 2011 by IcSP and guided by the European Commission's Service for Foreign Policy Instruments. It has twelve partner organizations, all but two are also members of ESDC.11 So far they have trained 1,741 individuals from 97 countries in 82 courses; most of them civilians, such as EU, UN or other mission staff, civil servants but also police and military have participated. The ENTRi partners offer the following types of courses:

  1. Core course on Non-Mission-Specific Training for EU Civilian Crisis Operations
  2. Specialization courses on topics such as Child Protection, Monitoring and Rehabilitation, Leadership & Gender, Human Rights, Conflict Analysis, New Media, Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT), Mission Admin & Support, Rule of Law
  3. Pre-deployment training, country specific and HEAT
  4. Pilot Training-of-Trainers (in 2015 1x in Slovenia and 1x Kosovo)
  5. In-country courses (hitherto in Uganda, Ethiopia, Kosovo and Mali)

The certification of training programmes is one special feature of the ENTRi. A C³MC-label, open to training centres in and outside of Europe, is awarded to programmes that meet established training standards. The certification programme seeks to provide an objective evaluation, aiming at the alignment of courses with international standards to subsequently enhance the coherence of training activities in civilian crisis management.

4.5. Training for Military

EU Member States have the primary responsibility for military training of nominated personnel, troops / forces as well as elements for command and control, for CSDP missions. The specific military training and education, which is organized by disciplines, is identified in the EU HQ Training Guide (EEAS, 2015b). ESDC courses for and on military range from training on protection of civilians, CSDP common module on CSDP (Erasmus Militaire), civil-military cooperation to international law for military legal advisers. For the training of young officers, the Erasmus Militaire programme was launched in 2008, to encourage exchange between officers from MS during their training and education. The ESDC runs an ‘Implementation Group’ for Erasmus Militaire, however strongly relies on the participation of the Naval, Air, and Military Academies of Member States. The extent to which MS have included the commonly elaborated models on CSDP etc. into their national system differs greatly (Rehrl, 2014 CSDP Handbook for Decision Makers). Furthermore, as troops and officers are still primarily educated and trained within their Member States, one may question to what extent one can speak of a harmonization of training for military and a Common European Security Culture.

4.6. Training for Police

Generally, pre-deployment police training (for CSDP missions) lies, just like military training, in the hand of EU Member States. However, when deployed in CSDP missions / operations, the two main EU training initiatives / organizations the European Union Police Services Training (EUPST) and CEPOL provide training. Additionally, police personnel can participate in ESDC (for example Security Sector Reform) and ENTRi courses (for example Protection of Civilians). The EUPST, funded by the European Commission, includes seventeen partners.12 It aims to build up police capabilities in the areas of interoperability, harmonization and the international police network for participation in crisis management operations (van der Laan et al. 2016; further referred to as Clingendael). Up to 1,500 law enforcement officers have been trained already. In the project period from 2015 to 2018, five comprehensive live exercises, twelve training programmes and five workshops / academic conferences are being planned. Their course schedule also offers Train-the-Trainer courses, focused on mentoring, monitoring, training and advising. CEPOL trains higher-level police officers on issues around CSDP and the nexus with areas of freedom, security and justice (Dijkstra et al., EU CIV-CAP, 2016). In 2015, CEPOL offered 151 courses (85 residential activities and 66 webinars), 428 exchanges under the European Police Exchange Programme (CEPOL, 2016).

4.7. Pre-deployment training (PDT) and in-mission training

Special attention should be given to pre-deployment training as it presents one of the most important parts of training. The EU pre-deployment training system involves ENTRi, ESDC and the Member States. Under current development of the EU training system, it is foreseen that all nominated / selected CSDP mission staff shall undergo a PDT to harmonize the management culture and ensure that the mission staff has the relevant skills and knowledge. The Member States have the responsibility for PDT of their seconded civilian, police and military CPSD mission staff. PDT for internationally contracted staff is under the auspices of the EEAS and delivered through the ESDC as regular PDT programmes. Extensive PDT for contracted staff is a recent development, after its need has been expressed in several meetings and reports (ENTRi, 2012; CSDP Handbook, 2015). ENTRi offers funded pre-deployment training regardless of the seconding Member States or mission (UN, OSCE, AU or EU mission), based on the idea that all civilian mission staff needs training, no matter if seconded or contracted. Yet the mandate of ENTRi expires in May 2019 and up to now it remains open under which framework ENTRi training organizations will continue to offer PDT. An alternative provider may be the ESDC, which has PTD since 2015 on its agenda. In the academic year 2015 / 2016 seven pre-deployment courses were implemented. The goal is to hold ten PDT per year. However, financing is an issue, as the Member States ought to cover the travel costs, board and lodging, and not all of them are able (or willing?) to cover. The CSDP mission budget, which is anyhow very limited, can only cover the participation if the respective person is already ‘on mission’ in the field (Dijkstra et al., EU CIV-CAP, 2016). Trainers of ESDC PDT courses do not cost anything as they are usually drawn from EU institutions. However, the more pre-deployment courses are offered the costlier it gets for the EU (Dijkstra et al., EU CIV-CAP, 2016). Financial implications also concern ENTRi, its participating organizations and the Commission, which provides 90% of the funds.
In-mission or induction training (when the deployed staff is in the field) ought to deepen the knowledge on the particular context in the host country. It is the responsibility of the management of EEAS and CSDP mission. So far it has not been standardized across missions (Dijkstra et al., EU CIV-CAP, 2016). The six-month post-course evaluation13 by ENTRi revealed, that about 65% of the mission staff, who previously attended an ENTRi course, did not receive an official follow-up to their training in the field, for example briefings by colleges or supervisors or an proper in-mission training (ENTRi, 2016). This presents one of the challenges to the EU training system, as will be further elaborated below.

10 The CMPD is a CSDP agency, responsible for political-strategic planning under the EEAS.
11 Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR), Austria, Royal Institute for International Relations (Egmont), Bel-gium, Diplomatic Institute, Bulgaria, Crisis Management Centre (CMC), Finland, Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA), France, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (SSSUP), Italy, Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael (NIIB), Netherlands, Centre for European Perspective (CEP), Slovenia, Folke Bernadotte Acad-emy (FBA), Sweden, Swiss Expert Pool for Civilian Peace Building (SEP), Switzerland, Stabilisation Unit (SU), United Kingdom
12 The consortium members are: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands (Royal Netherlands Marechaussee and National Police), Poland, Portugal, Romania (Jandarmeria and National Police), Spain (Guardia Civil and Na-tional Police), United Kingdom (Stabilisation Unit) and CEPOL (Collège Européen de Police).
13 It is an anonymous online survey. Response rate was high with 57%, 563 if 994 course alumni responded (ENTRi 2016).

5. Challenges

In the following, the most important challenges and needs with regard to training are presented. These are categorized into three interdependent levels: Challenges on the macro-level, involving issues around coherence of actors and cooperation issues within the EU and externally. This in turn influences the operational level of training organizations and management, such as pre-deployment trainings, delivered by the EU. On the micro-level (training implementation-level), there are gaps and needs regarding training content, trainers and returned mission staff, which can be caused by issues of incoherence.

5.1. Coherence within the EU and Members States

The first challenge the EU faces, not just with regard to training, is the lack of coherence due to fragmentation into a large number of EU actors on the strategic, political as well as implementation level. Issues around coherence obviously also effect coordination, cooperation and standardization of training and the assurance of quality. Central aspects of this incoherence are the different national interests, priorities and approaches to crisis management. For example, there are different regional and thematic foci, as France for instance prioritizes countering terrorism as well as security in Africa, especially in its former colonies (Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations, 2016). Austria on the other hand focuses on peace and stability in Southern Europe, the Balkans and South Caucasus region (Federal Ministry, Republic of Austria, Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, 2017). Sweden has a strong agenda for gender in peacebuilding and Finland for mediation (Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, 2011; Government Offices of Sweden, 2016). Consequently, different MS and their training institutions push for different agendas.
Regarding policing in CSDP missions / operations, there has not been a Council decision yet on the character of police, as there is no agreement amongst the EU or its MS. Gendarmerie units in France, Italy and Spain work in their countries under the authority of the Ministry of Interior (except for Italy), and engage in a range of (civilian) police work. However, their deployment in CSDP missions / operations is controversial due to the gendarmerie’s military equipment and ‘robust’ character. Other MS favour ‘pure’ civilian operations, arguing that the deployment of police forces with military status (gendarmerie) will complicate civilian security tasks (Clingendael, 2016). A similar discussion exists around military CSDP missions / operations, and the role of military in CPPB in general. The lack of common policies and functioning cooperation mechanisms within EU institutions regarding military interventions among the Member States present obstacles to interoperability. This divergence also trickles down to the training sector. The Clingendael report (2016) on police missions, states that it is not the lack of training presenting a challenge but to bring “the many national and EU-level training activities together in a coherent and standardized overall training package.” On paper, the Comprehensive Approach to external conflicts and crises (European Commission, 2013) foresees coherent, coordinated and complementary measures in crisis management, which is however challenging to achieve in practice. As it is the primary responsibility of Member States to adequately train their seconded staff (of CSDP missions and EU Special Representatives), there are significant divergences in the quality and impact of training offered by the diverse national institutions (under ESDC and ENTRi). According to the analysis of Dijkstra et al. from EU CIV-CAP (2016), initiatives to harmonize and standardize training are inhibited as many Member States remain slow to improve and update training and recruitment procedures. This corresponds to the next issue around capabilities.

5.2. Capabilities of EU Member States (for Civilian CPPB Training)

The discrepancy between different Member States in providing adequate staff as well as training options is rooted in the different capabilities for training, especially in training for civilian mission staff, diplomats and civil servants engaged in CPPB (regarding financial, structural and staffing capabilities). Finland, Denmark and Sweden have high standards in the pre-identification of personnel and place particular emphasis on adequate training. Before national candidates are added to national rosters, they must attend a generic training programme equivalent to at least two-to-four full-time weeks. Germany and Belgium have similar training requirements for their selected staff. Dijkstra et al. (EU CIV-CAP, 2016) recommends that some MS should improve their personnel policy. Moreover, regarding institutionalization, some Member States created a separate government body for recruitment and training, especially of civilian experts, mission staff, civil servants and diplomats. Germany, Finland and Sweden, for instance, have a separate organization for relevant training (see ZIF, FBA and CMC). In other countries, like Croatia, only state or military actors, the ministries of defence and / or military academies are responsible for training. They do organize certified courses on peacekeeping; yet they have no governmental agency entirely dedicated to training civilian personnel for CPPB. Again, others like Austria and Italy have, next to their engaged Ministries of Defence and / or Interior, non-governmental organizations represented in ESDC and ENTRi, who are additionally responsible for training of civilian staff. Nonetheless, the representation of state and non-state institutes from one member state in ENTRi and ESDC is rather exceptional.
Other EU countries like Hungary, Luxembourg, Malta, Estonia, or Lithuania do not have the capacity to organize and implement frequently CSDP trainings, especially to prepare civilians for CPPB. However, Luxembourg for example, as one of the smallest Member States, has sent their staff to trainings in other countries. Moreover, other relatively small Member States, such as Austria and Finland, are actively supporting and contributing to EU training (through staff training organizations). This brings us back to the first issue of different national interest in CPPB activities.
Related to this is the issue of the EU’s Civilian Response Teams (CRT), the rapid reaction capacity of the EU. The Member States have agreed to hold a number of experts available for mission deployment within five days, from the moment the decision is taken. The CRT pool was supposed to consist of 100 staff members from different Member States. Yet that goal was never met and Clingendael (2016) reports that the CRT concept has failed, as staff was only (not even a team) deployed twice. For policing, the Civilian Headline Goals prescribe hundred police officers able to deploy within thirty days. Some Member States, such as Austria and Sweden, have created such Police Force Pools. The Member States’ capability to train and then hold the CRT staff available for secondment is again problematic. The domination of Nordic countries in the set-up is mentioned as a reason for failure of the CRT. It was modelled after systems in Sweden, Finland and Germany, where special government bodies were set to take care of the recruitment process. This was and still is lacking in most other Member States and their “offer” of deployable staff is scarce (Clingendael, 2016).

5.3. Parallel Training Initiatives of EU & UN

The literature review revealed the challenge of harmonizing training regimes and structures of the EU and the UN (Creta, 2014; Hummel & Pietz, 2015; Cîrlig, 2015). Harmonizing and standardizing training is a gradual process, which hitherto has rather happened in an ad hoc and unstructured way. There is a need for coordination, especially since the UN and EU deploy peace operations to the same countries (e.g. Mali and Afghanistan) and engage in the same activities, such as Security Sector Reform or Protection of Civilians.
A step towards harmonization is the EU’s initiative to open those courses promoted through the online platform Schoolmaster (EEAS, 2016c), for UN mission personnel as well as other IOs (Hummel & Pietz, 2015). EU-UN cooperation in crisis management is institutionalized through the EU-UN Steering Committee, which is inter alia tasked to identify options for cooperation in training and exchanging best practices (Cîrlig, 2015). Still, this does not automatically result in cooperation mechanisms and action “trickling down” from the political and strategic to the operational level in training planning. A system for standardized training and consultation to share lessons identified and foster mutual understanding is not yet in place. The UN and EU training regimes have been under review in the course of 2015 and 2016. However, so far there are no common training standards on issues like rule of law, women and gender, human rights law or pre-deployment training – the personal safety and security training being one of the shared curricula. Nevertheless, one can argue that, although a formal harmonization has not taken place, the content of training is based on shared international principles and a standard set of conflict prevention and peacebuilding instruments.

5.4. Pre-Deployment and In-Mission Training

The issue of capabilities and coherence between Member States also applies to the management of pre-deployment training. Dijkstra et al. (EU CIV-CAP, 2016) argue that Member States should make more use of the offered training options by ESDC or ENTRi, even that “the reality is that the Member States are not often able to provide adequate pre-deployment training” (p.49). The example given is plausible: a small country like Luxembourg, who seconds staff to the EU Training Mission Somalia, cannot hold a weeklong seminar for staff from Luxembourg every three months. ENTRi (2016) has also mentioned the challenge of coordinating and implementing country specific PDT ‘for the right people at the right time.’ Furthermore, there exists a discrepancy between PDT for seconded and contracted mission staff. The EEAS has the responsibility of internationally contracted staff, however in 2015 / 2016 it was still criticized that only few contracted personnel attended PDT. Is that due to a shortage of adequate PDT offers or does the mission staff simply not attend (because of time or location)? In comparison, the OSCE and UN manage to offer suitable courses for contracted staff. Whatever the reason, there is a need to overcome the division between seconded and contracted staff, to prevent incoherent working cultures and preparations of mission staff. Dijkstra et al. (EU CIV-CAP, 2016) has already given policy recommendations, firstly calling for sustainable and standardized PDT for all mission staff (contracted and seconded) and secondly an increased EU training budget, for instance providing a mission budget for standardized PDT.
Regarding in-mission training, prior analyses (in EEAS, 2015a; CPCC, 2015; Dijkstra et al., 2016) revealed that there is a need for harmonized in-mission introductory training with a minimum standard across missions, for instance information about a Mission Implementation Plan. Standardized presentations of induction training may include updated / often changing security and political situations and working procedures and cultures that have not been covered in the PDT. Still, there needs to be a balance between generalized in-mission training about rules of procedures (the same across all missions) and specialized training topics: In the EU operation in Georgia, for instance, staff needs driving instructions for armoured vehicles whereas the Ukraine in-mission training should include SSR inputs. The mission-specific needs correlate with the general training requirements in the field. This is another challenge to training stakeholders.

5.5. Meeting the Needs of the Field

Training programmes in conflict prevention and peacebuilding should obviously correspond to the necessities in a given context of the intervention. Whether CSDP mission / operation staff, military, civilian, police or diplomats in mediation, all need to be adequately prepared with skills and knowledge to meet the challenges and tasks in their work. There should be mechanisms in place to firstly assess these needs and secondly communicate them to the training organizer, who finally designs courses accordingly. Research revealed that the existing structures are not sufficiently utilized: ENTRi holds contact to national and mission / Headquarter (HQ) focal points to receive feedback and information on training needs and requirements for civilian conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities. However, the contact with the ENTRi partners in Europe remains sporadic and only orally (via phone), as no focal point has provided written input on needs (ENTRi, 2016). Nonetheless, ENTRi engages in regular exchanges and meetings with relevant EU bodies / divisions, including Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), African Peace Support Trainers Association (APSTA), United Nations Department for Peacekeeping Operations (UN DPKO) Integrated Training Service, CSDP missions, EU Member States as well as the European Association of Peace Operations Training Centres (EAPTC). At the ESDC, the Executive Academic Board (representatives of network institutions) is tasked to ensure quality and coherence of training through the identification of lessons learned and needs / requirements. There are three working groups, but none explicitly dedicated to assessing the requirements of training in CPPB.14 The ESDC Secretariat supports conceptual academic work and training activities in Brussels. It is closely linked to the Crisis Management and Planning Directorate, which in turn is a strategic body of the EEAS, providing the ground for decisions of the EU Council on ”what to do, why, where and with whom” in an international crisis situation. It is therefore tasked with the strategic and operational planning of CSDP missions / operations. The process involves civilian and military planners in consultation with other services within and outside of the EEAS (CMPD, 2016). It remains unclear from the literature and information available online, if there is a systematic, centralized and coordinated process within ESDC and CMPD to assess training needs in civilian crisis management activities.
Regarding the assessment of military training requirements, the EU has established EU Training Discipline Leaders (EU DL). The EU DL is an expert group to permanently monitor and consider new (military) training requirements. They conduct an EU CSDP Military Training Requirements Analysis to identify “gaps, deficiencies and redundant training, in order to highlight the appropriate corrective measures necessary to meet training requirements for a specific CSDP military training discipline” (EEAS, 2015b, p.8). In order to translate recommendation into practice the EEAS developed a Framework Process for Managing CSDP Military Training Requirements (EEAS, 2014b). In comparison, the structures for the analysis of civilian training requirements seem less developed, and therefore pose a challenge to the process of training design.

5.6. Training Content and Target Groups

Regarding the content of training, the literature review revealed that there are insufficient courses available for the middle management on leadership and management skills (ENTRi, 2012). Three years after the ENTRi assessment, the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC) Questionnaire of 2015 (CPCC, 2015) confirms the continuous need for courses on skills in leadership, change management as well as mission support, mission planning, monitoring, mentoring and advising. Regarding military training, IECEU (2015) found that ESDC lacks programmes on core institutional and working practice for nominates to European Union Operational Head Quarter (EU OHQ), as it is currently only available for EU MS staff. In addition, more and better specialized training should be offered to senior personnel. As there ESDC offers a range of courses in this area, the question arises whether it is not about the offer, but about the participation of senior staff.
Furthermore, training is expensive and some trained personnel in some cases is not deployed in the end (Dijkstra et al., EU CIV-CAP, 2016).15 This generic link between training, recruitment and deployment should be subject of future investigation.

5.7. Returnees

Within the EU structures, neither ESDC nor ENTRi have an institutionalized or systemized approach to involve former mission members or returnees in CSDP-related training. The extent to which returned seconded staff is engaged in evaluations, identification of best practices or training of new personnel, depends on the Member State. There is no clear and available, public information on how different Member States handle returnees. For contracted, international personnel of CSDP missions there are even less ways, if any at all, for experience sharing and knowledge transfer through training of future personnel. In addition, knowledge transfer (lessons identified, best practices) does not occur either across or between CSDP missions and relevant EU actors. Mission staff has recommended an annual cross-mission meeting for knowledge and experience sharing for specialized experts and advisors, such as Gender, Human Rights, Rule of Law advisors or Heads of Mission, (CPCC, 2015). ESDC holds an annual Alumni Event, which serves a purpose of discussing the larger dimension of European Security Policy, CSDP and the EU’s role in a globalized world (ESDC, Alumni Seminar Programme, 2016). This and other existing events and structures could theoretically be used for purposes of experience sharing and lessons learned for mission returnees.

5.8. Knowledge: Experts and Trainers

The issue of knowledge transfer through returnees opens up questions regarding the general sources and transporters of knowledge and skills in CPPB training. In other words, who are the trainers and experts providing training for CSDP and other EU / national courses? In the review of official EU documents on training, CSDP handbooks, ENTRi reports and website research, it became apparent that trainers and experts are rarely mentioned. The Goalkeeper – Schoolmaster Catalogue of the EEAS (2016c) of training opportunities does not provide information on their experts or trainers for the particular courses. ENTRi is fostering the harmonization of European training centres also by sharing trainers and expertise. However, the partners do not offer input about the qualifications and profiles of their trainers and experts, and of course, any sort of evaluation of trainers, if at all, is done internally. There does not seem to be a centralized coordination of trainers. Moreover, information on trainers and experts are generally not publically available. Only CEPOL runs a database on lecturers, trainers and researchers. Mentioning this here is not meant to doubt or critique the quality of training or the trainers. However, if the EU’s goal is to improve and harmonize EU and national training activities, attention should also be placed on the trainers and experts – after all, they deliver the courses with their diverse experiences, qualifications and backgrounds.
14 Working group on Internet-based Distance Learning (IDL), Im-plementation Group: European Initiative to enhance the exchange of young officers and Executive Academic Board on SSR: Training of EU Pool of SSR Experts
15 Note, there are no verified numbers on trained, but not deployed personnel.

6. Concluding Remarks

This article sought to disentangle the EU training landscape for conflict prevention and peacebuilding, which at times seems more like a jungle of diverse and numerous actors and initiatives with dispersed responsibilities and tasks. The EU training system is set on the international stage of conflict prevention and peacebuilding. Here, the lowest common denominator on conflict prevention and peacebuilding within the international discourse is that

  • conflict prevention aims at containing escalation of tensions and re-escalation into violent conflict, and
  • peacebuilding is a long-term process aiming to reduce the risk of lapse and relapse into armed conflict by creating the necessary conditions for sustainable peace within state and society.

While this understanding has changed extensively over the last 25 years, the EU has only emerged relatively recently as a regional and global actor for peace, engaging in crisis management. In the 1990s, the EU started shaping its policies and “peace profile” alongside an increased engagement for CPPB beyond its borders. The terms conflict prevention and peacebuilding consolidated in the EU’s rhetoric, and policies and the number of activities increased. Consequently, the requirements for adequately prepared and trained military, police and civilian personnel have surged.
The EU has created a number of bodies, like the network ESDC and ENTRi, to harmonize training for personnel in crisis management. However, it was shown that the EU still faces a number of challenges concerning i) the lack of coherence, ii) the need to further strengthen EU-UN synergies in trainings iii) to find mechanisms ‘to use’ returned contracted and seconded mission staff for institutional learning and best practice assessment and iv) meeting the training needs of the field. A complete harmonization of all training approaches under the EU is very unlikely, due to the different interests and capabilities of EU Member States. However, there is plenty of room to improve existing structures and mechanisms - to in the end advance the actual conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities. This is where the Project comes in to explore, through strong exchange and engagement with stakeholders, the possibilities for change. In the following two years, concrete proposals on training curricula, online tools, knowledge-sharing and networking will be developed.

For more information visit


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Eingegangen: 05.01.2017
Peer Review: 01.02.2017
Angenommen: 13.02.2017


Diesen Artikel zitieren als:
Wolter, S. & Leiberich, A. M. (2017). The EU Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Training Landscape – an Overview. Zeitschrift für Beratungs- und Managementwissenschaften, 3, 43-55.


Svenja Wolter, wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin des Zentrums für Konfliktforschung, Philipps-Universität Marburg.

Anna Miriam Leiberich, studentische Hilfskraft des Zentrums für Konfliktforschung, Philipps-Universität Marburg.

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