The institutional barriers of the EU’s peacebuilding framework: the case of Libya and beyond : studying the limitations of the Union’s peacebuilding capacity and the way these institutional barriers influenced the EU’s role in Libya between February 2011 and July 2014
Over the past two decades, the EU developed a normative and institutional peacebuilding framework in order to be able to respond more adequately to the rising number of regional and global challenges. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the Union started to carry out both civilian and military peacebuilding operations in all regions of the world in order to support the three pillars of the Union: rule of law, human rights and democracy. This thesis addresses the limitations of the EU’s peacebuilding capacity and the way these institutional barriers influenced the EU’s role in Libya between February 2011 and July 2014. Against the backdrop of a comparison between the UN and the EU’s peacebuilding system, this thesis provides a three-layered critique on the EU’s peacebuilding framework: at the conceptual, political and operational/institutional level. Subsequently, it will explore and explain the way these institutional barriers shaped the EU’s response to the 2011 Libyan crisis. This thesis demonstrates that there is a gap between the EU’s idealistically-driven and multi-faceted peacebuilding framework on the one hand, and its limited peacebuilding record and capacity on the other. It is therefore argued that ‘lessons learned’ from the EU’s previous peacebuilding practices – such as the case of Libya – should serve to realistically rethink and redefine the EU’s role as peacebuilder at the international stage. In other words, it is time to critically reflect upon the EU’s peacebuilding potential in order to become a more meaningful and effective peacebuilder in the near future.