Multilateralism and the Emergence of 'Minilateralism' in EU Peace Operations

Romanian Journal of European Affairs, Vol. 8, No. 2, June 2008

17 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2008

Date Written: June 30, 2008


In recent years, the multilateral practice of peacekeeping and peace support operations has been growing as legitimate instrument to interrupt violence, strengthen security, and protect against gross human rights violations. Invented by the United Nations, peace operations have passed through a process of change that has given new features to multilateral security. Since the late 1980s, the number of UN-authorized peace operations has been growing. Also regional organisations have engaged themselves in an unprecedented number of peace support operations. Recently, the European Union has entered into the practice of peacekeeping, and put multilateralism at the centre of its presence in the world political system. This paper reviews political science knowledge on peace operations (especially, the legitimacy and efficacy issues), and examines the hypothesis of the appearance of minilateralism as the consequence of the engagement of regional organisations and actors, like the EU, in peace operations. The hypothesis is tested by comparing the data of the peace missions of three European organisations (EU, OSCE, and NATO) with those of the United Nations. The paper conclusion is that the European states are developing a preference for selective engagement (i.e. minilateralism) in peace operations, and the EU is capable of playing both as multilateral and minilateral security provider.

Keywords: European security, peacekeeping, multilateralism, minilateralism

Suggested Citation

Attina, Fulvio, Multilateralism and the Emergence of 'Minilateralism' in EU Peace Operations (June 30, 2008). Romanian Journal of European Affairs, Vol. 8, No. 2, June 2008. Available at SSRN:

Fulvio Attina (Contact Author)

University of Catania ( email )

Monastero dei Benedettini
Piazza dante 32
Sicily 95124

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