These Are the People in Your Neighbourhood: Conflict Prevention and the Desecuritisation of Minorities Through European Union External Relations
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As minority rights are recognised by international institutions to play an important role in conflict prevention, the objective of this thesis is to identify institutional external relations strategies with minority rights-violating states that can assist in the prevention of violent conflict. By utilising the Copenhagen School’s concepts of security and securitisation, this thesis argues that, due to the societal security nature of minority securitisation, structural and transformative conflict prevention measures can best assist in the desecuritisation of minorities and thus, help to prevent the escalation of violent conflict. This relationship is explored by analysing the European Union’s ability to assist in minority desecuritisation via its external relations policies and development of stronger relations with its ‘neighbour’ states, particularly, Georgia. It concludes that EU external relations are insufficient to assist substantially in the desecuritisation process as they do not counter the identity discourses involved with minority securitisation and instead, focus primarily on state security and its own security concerns, and follow a misguided view on conflict prevention. This thesis concludes that if the EU is serious about conflict prevention in minority rights-violating states, it must reconstruct not only its own views but also those of others by promoting inclusiveness, offering alternative discourses, openly criticising policies and actions, and applying a critical security analysis through its external relations and conflict prevention policies.