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ARCHIVES  Danyliw Seminar 2016

Hanna Shelest

UA: Ukraine Analytica (Ukraine)

Hanna Shelest is Editor-in-chief at UA: Ukraine Analytica and Board Member of the Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism.” She received her PhD in 2012 from the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. She was a Visiting Research Fellow at the NATO Defense College in Rome in 2014 and is currently a Marshall Memorial Fellow.



The Prospects of European Mediation and Peacekeeping in Ukraine

Many EU member-states have a long history of conflict resolution and mediation. The Union as a whole, however, has rarely been seen in this capacity in the past, mostly due to a limited approach, based on confidence-building and post-conflict reconstruction priorities in its instruments set, and quite often, an inability to find a consensus for a strong consensual position in a conflict settlement. This was particularly the case with EU peacekeeping activity, which has mostly taken the form of police missions or supporting role to UN activities and, at times, acting in the framework of old post-colonial connections between separate member-states and countries in conflict.


The situation started changing in 2008, when the EU for the first time attempted to act as a single mediator in the Russian-Georgian conflict, being involved at the highest point of the crisis. Whether this mediation can be considered as a successful one remains disputed, as the fighting was stopped but the peace has not been reached and separatist regions announced their independence, supported and recognized by Russia. However, the ability to act as a single actor had a significant effect on a perception of the European Union as a reliable and possible mediator in the region.


The Ukrainian crisis of 2014 brought a new challenge to the EU. Since an aspiration by Ukraine to integrate with the EU was seen as one of the reasons for the crisis, it could not stay apart. Due to the divergence in positions and approaches among member-states, however, the EU was not able to become a real mediator. The Normandy format with Germany and France as mediators made that evident. The call on the Ukrainian side to send an EU peacekeeping mission became an additional question of concern, as neither Ukraine realized the format it needed nor the EU had sufficient capacity to deploy. Brexit brought additional difficulties with the attention shifting from the Ukrainian crisis to an internal EU crisis.


In this article, we will try to answer the following questions:  How do the EU Common Defense and Security Policy consider the mechanisms and perspectives of a joint mediation and peacekeeping missions? Is the EU an equal and reliable partner in peacekeeping and mediation activities in European conflicts? Why isn’t the EU is presented as a single mediator in the Ukrainian conflict, and can the situation be transformed? What are the perspectives of a EU peacekeeping mission in Ukraine? Will the EU involvement in the Ukrainian crisis decrease or increase the role of the Union at the international security arena?

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