From Power Mediation to Dialogue Support? Assessing the European Union's Capabilities for Multi-Track Diplomacy




Goldner-Ebenthal, Karin
Dudouet, Veronique

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Berghof Foundation


This report seeks to answer this question, by assessing EU capabilities for multi-track diplomacy from a ‘whole-of-society’ perspective, as defined in the Horizon 2020-funded project “Whole-of-Society Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding” (WOSCAP). Multi-track diplomacy (MTD) is defined here as a specific approach to EU foreign policy intervention, with a primary emphasis on diplomatic initiatives aimed at supporting conflict prevention and peacebuilding, primarily through negotiation, mediation/or and dialogue across different levels (Tracks) of engagement within partner countries. MTD is highly compatible with a whole-of-society perspective on conflict prevention and peacebuilding, as it rests on the assumption that transforming complex and multi-dimensional conflicts requires an inclusive approach which does not solely focus on elite bargaining but requires constructive interactions with multiple conflict stakeholders and affected constituencies in order to reach a sustainable settlement. Such an approach thus implies a shift away from a sole reliance on traditional state diplomacy and Track I muscled mediation. It stresses instead the need for coordinated efforts by multiple third-party actors to support dialogue across various levels of society through diversified methods of ‘soft power’ diplomacy, according to the various stages of conflict and peacebuilding. The report will thus analyze the timing, nature and dimensions of EU multi-track diplomacy in war-affected or post-war contexts outside of its borders, in order to assess whether its actual capabilities for dialogue and mediation support match its ambitiously-stated goals with respect to proactive engagement, horizontal coherence and integration, and vertical inclusivity.



Mediation, Dialogue, Multi-Track Diplomacy