Uniting for Peace: The Role of a United Europe in a Turbulent World

Discover how a united Europe can address global challenges and promote peace on International Day of Peace.

Sep 21, 2023
Photograph of 3 EU flags waving in the wind

International Day of Peace, a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, serves as a stark reminder that these ideals are far from being realised. In 2022 we witnessed the highest number of people dying due to conflicts and war since 1994 and 2023 could well be another “record year”. International Day of Peace provides an opportunity to reflect and think about those lives lost, to consider the global effects of the war raging on our continent and to offer an answer to the geostrategic challenges we face: a united Europe. 

Massive human suffering is currently happening across the globe. Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine has been ongoing for over 575 days. At least 30 other countries worldwide are currently in conflict: civil wars in Yemen and Syria, terrorist insurgencies in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq, ethnic violence in South Sudan and drug wars in Mexico and Colombia are just a few examples. Yet not all conflicts stand on their own. Far from it. The unprecedented Russian aggression against the sovereign state of Ukraine has huge destabilising effects that are felt globally. 

The Russian aggression has deteriorated the relationship between China and the US and the EU, raising concerns about a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan. It has further isolated Iran, which supplies weapons to Russia,  following global condemnation of its merciless crackdown of anti-regime protests. It has also made Russia more adamant to increase its influence in Africa. The Sahel region has descended into chaos and disarray in a melange of military coups, islamist insurgencies and growing ecological pressures. Meanwhile the EU’s ability to support democratic forces in the region is diminishing over policy missteps and strategic incoherence. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shattered the regional dynamics in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. The impact is felt most acutely in the South Caucasus, where Russia used to play an important peacekeeping role in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. With Russia occupied with its aggression against Ukraine, Azerbaijan, which seized control over territory in Nagorno-Karabakh (an ethnic Armenian-majority region with a de facto government backed by Armenia) during a bloody war in 2020, seems to feel emboldened. In December 2022, it blocked the only road access from the area to Armenia, the Lachin-corridor and just two days ago it initiated another brutal military offensive in the region. Currently, a fragile ceasefire seems to have been agreed, but whether this leads to a lasting peace remains uncertain.

In addition, the urgent climate crisis and large scale destruction of our ecosystems create a systemic risk of future conflicts. Devastating natural disasters like those in Haiti, Pakistan and most recently in Libya are deteriorating already crumbling authorities. These countries are struggling in providing for the basic humanitarian needs of their people, such as safety and food security. Climate crisis is undeniably a ticking time bomb threatening not only our livelihoods and ecosystems, but also global peace.

The European Union plays a pivotal role in securing global peace. Obviously the EU, as part of the Global North, has a responsibility to support progress in and development of the Global South. But the EU can only be an effective force towards global peace if it stands in unity. Without unity, the power of the EU goes limp. Take, for example, Hungary’s ability to single handedly hamper the EU’s capacity to support Ukraine by blocking certain proposed sanctions against Russia.  

Unity means, amongst other things, the abolition of the veto power in the Council. The veto power is continuously used as a political weapon and prevents the Council from taking timely and effective decisions. Without the veto power, the EU would be better equipped to act when needed, especially in the face of security threats. Unity also means a common government, realised through a federal Europe, with a President elected by the European citizens and a Prime Minister elected by and from the European Parliament. The federal Europe that Volt envisions includes the transfer of security and defence competences from national to European levels. 

To create a stronger and more united Europe, Volt also supports the enlargement of the EU. For example, Ukraine's accession will strengthen the EU both externally and internally. Securing the Eastern flank of the EU is the only way to guarantee a robust and peaceful Europe. Since the onset of unprecedented Russia’s full-scale war, when the EU has demonstrated a vital role in assisting Ukraine, the pro-EU aspirations of Ukraine have only magnified. The vision of becoming part of the EU is a strong factor for hope and resilience for Ukrainians who continue to lose precious lives defending their freedom, independence and way of life at the heart of Europe. This is why we must stand united in our support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s imperialist aspirations. The unilateral import bans against Ukraine imposed by Hungary, Poland and Slovakia are clearly undermining this concept of unity, and are condemned by Volt.

Now more than ever a united Europe is needed to promote peace and to be able to face the geostrategic challenges the world faces. National governments positioning themselves to further their own national interests are a stain on our front of unity. In order to be relevant on the global geopolitical stage, to effectively address cross-border issues such as the climate crisis, to ensure democracy, to uphold the rule of law and to deliver security on the continent and beyond, we need to form one Europe. Only united as one front, the EU can fill its role as a global actor through delivering security in Europe.  

Fighting for a united Europe is a means of supporting peace in the world. We call for your support in this endeavour.