Pax Europaea (English: the European peace – after the historical Pax Romana), is the period of relative peace experienced by Europe in the period following World War II—often associated above all with the creation of the European Union (EU) and its predecessors. After the Cold War this peace was even more evident because of the fall in political tensions, with the major exception of the Yugoslav Wars and various tensions with and within Russia. In 2012, the EU institutions were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Transatlantic cooperation and European integration was designed to maintain the fragile peace that was created in Europe. With the continent consistently falling into war over the past centuries the creation of the European Communities in the 1950s set to integrate its members to such an extent that war between them would be impossible. These Communities, and other organisations including NATO expanded to cover most of Western Europe, Northern Europe and Southern Europe. Although Central and Eastern Europe remained under Soviet influence, they too experienced little conflict, with the major exception of internal repression, until the 1990s when a series of wars in Yugoslavia broke out as the country disintegrated. The EU structures were criticised for its inability to prevent the conflict, though the zone is now within its sphere of enlargement.
The EU now comprises 28 countries with majority of European non-member states seeking membership (twelve countries joined the EU in 2000s). In addition to that, most countries which remain outside are tied to the EU by economic agreements and treaties such as the European Economic Area. Within the zone of integration, there has been no conflict since 1945, making it the longest period of peace on the western European mainland since Pax Romana.
The European Union was awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its efforts to maintain and actively foster peace within its borders as well as internationally through diplomatic means.
Even though a number of armed conflicts occurred on the European peninsula after World War II, none of them have been between members of the European Union. Most of these conflicts have taken place in the former Yugoslavia and Soviet Union.
List of wars
List of wars in Europe during the post-WW2 period:
- Greek Civil War (Greece)
- Invasion of Czechoslovakia (USSR)
- Ten-Day War (Slovenia vs. Yugoslavia)
- Croatian War of Independence (Croatia vs. Yugoslavia)
- Georgian Civil War
- East Prigorodny Conflict (Ingush militia vs. Russia)
- War of Transnistria (Transnitria vs. Moldavia)
- Bosnian War (Bosnia vs. Yugoslavia)
- Albanian Rebellion
- First Chechen War
- War of Dagestan
- Second Chechen War
- Russo-Georgian war
- 2014 pro-Russian conflict in Ukraine
Wars waged by European countries during the post-WW2 period:
- Indonesian War of Independence (Netherlands)
- Suez Crisis (UK and France)
- First Indochina War (France)
- Algerian War (France)
- Ifni War (France and Spain)
- Bizerte crisis (France)
- Angolan War of Independence (Portugal)
- Dhofar Rebellion (UK)
- Mozambican War of Independence (Portugal)
- Shaba I and II (France and Belgium)
- Falklands War (UK)
- Afghanistan War
- Iraq War
- Northern Mali conflict (France)
- Central African Republic conflict (France)
- European integration
- Enlargement of the European Union
- Member state of the European Union
- Pax Americana
- Pax Britannica
- World Peace Marathon
- Tsoukalis, Loukas (2005). What Kind of Europe?. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-927948-7.
- Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council; José Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission (10 December 2012). "From War to Peace: A European Tale". Nobel Lecture by the European Union. Retrieved 4 January 2014.