Centre for European Peace and Security Studies (ZEUS)
The Centre for European Peace and Security Studies (ZEUS) focuses on the EU’s contribution to the strengthening of peace and international security within the scope of the EU’s Common Foreign, Security and Defence Policy. In a long-term perspective, ZEUS research activity develops around five main subject areas:
- the European Union’s self-image and its role as a “peace actor” and “security provider”;
- the development and elaboration of relevant peace and security policy structures within the EU;
- the enlargement of the EU and the resulting challenges for governance policies and inter-institutional co-operation within the EU;
- the Euro-Atlantic ties, with particular attention to the EU partnerships with the USA and NATO;
- the impact of the EU as a global actor dealing with regional and transnational peace and security challenges.
ZEUS contributes to the implementation of the IFSH’s work programme both through autonomous research projects and in cooperation with other IFSH research units or external partners. Research projects, for instance, analyse how the EU can hinder the genesis and proliferation of transnational threats to peace and security as well as prevent their transformation into violent conflicts. Research focuses in particular on questions relating to:
- the specific challenges posed to the EU by transnational security threats;
- the norms and values that determine the actions taken to face such challenges;
- strategies, instruments and policies being developed and applied in order to prevent and contain such threats;
- the EU’s interactions in selected regions and in particularly relevant functional policy areas;
- the effects of EU policies in the prevention and containment of transnational security threats and the conclusions that can be drawn thereupon.
As far as topics and methods of research are concerned, ZEUS orientates itself toward the system of conceptual/normative, institution-oriented, sectoral and structure-building approaches that characterise the IFSH work programme.
Conceptual/normative approaches: the fundamental world views and normative approaches underlying the EU’s peace and security strategies, instruments and practices are analysed. If necessary, alternative models of action are elaborated.
Institution-oriented approaches: these approaches analyse whether, how and by what means the EU influences the prevention and transformation of conflicts beyond its borders through effective forms of international security governance. The analysis focuses on the institutional configuration of the EU’s neighbourhood and cooperation policies, regional strategies with regard to Southeast Europe (Western Balkans), the Mediterranean region (Middle East) and strategic regions along the extended periphery (especially North Africa and Central Asia), as well as activities carried out to prevent transnational threats and (civil-military) crisis management within the framework of the ESDP. In this context, possibilities for inter-institutional cooperation are examined, with the aim to explore what strategic synergies may be developed through global partnerships (in particular with the USA, Russia and China).
On the thematical-sectorial level, the five key threats mentioned in the 2003 European Security Strategy, namely terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, state failure, regional conflicts and organised crime, are points of reference for research.
Structure-building approaches place the focus on the EU’s strategies and instruments to build democratic institutions in weak and/or authoritarian states. Among other things, ZEUS examines EU policies for norm socialization, especially in the field of rule of law. More specifically, attention is paid to mechanisms of policy transfer to third countries and assistance to build up and reform the justice system, police and armed forces, as well as border security and border management. Approaches used in impact research (evaluation research, quantitative analysis) are integrated into analysis. In particular, unintended effects on not only the conditions and actors in the target countries but also the EU itself are taken into consideration.
ZEUS develops and maintains close relationships with renowned research institutions at home and abroad. ZEUS aims to strengthen direct research cooperation and work together to acquire external funding for research projects from domestic and foreign sponsor organisations.
ZEUS researchers actively participate in academic teaching, above all through the postgraduate programme “Master of Peace and Security Studies” and the supervision of PhD candidates, students and interns.
One major focus of ZEUS’ research, research-supported services and teaching activities is the interface of civilian conflict prevention and the role of armed forces. This focus is in line with the IFSH’s longstanding tradition, based in particular on its first director Lieutenant General (rtd.) Count Wolf von Baudissin. The IFSH’s military component and the “Count Baudissin” Fellowship Programme, in the framework of which foreign officials and security experts have the possibility to conduct a supervised research residency at the IFSH, deal with this thematic focus. Furthermore, studies on democratisation of armed forces and civic education (“Innere Führung”) are also carried out by the external research group “DemoS”.
ZEUS provides comprehensive research-based services and support both independently and for the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg. Services include internet-supported information, publishing and editing of academic works, peace education, public relations and the organization of academic teaching.