The activities of Vrede vzw focus on 2 major and interconnected themes: 1. Militarization and 2. The MENA region.


The economic and geostrategic rivalries between the great powers in today's multipolar world dominate international relations, stand in the way of common security and cooperation, and lead to a policy of militarization. This leads to armaments and a sustained increase in global military spending. As a result, there is less budgetary room for much-needed social investments and sustainable development.

Besides the actual militarization there is also a "militarization of the minds". Policymakers at all levels increasingly approach and address political, economic, social and other problems in a military way. Reverting to purely military solutions diverts attention from the root causes of conflict and tends to be counterproductive.

Vrede vzw opposes the continuing general trend of militarization; opposes the increase in military budgets within NATO and the European Union (EU); opposes the preservation of the nuclear defence doctrine and the upgrading of the existing nuclear arsenals; opposes the presence of American nuclear weapons on Belgian soil; opposes the use of tax money for the development of the European arms industry and opposes the current military intervention doctrine. Military intervention should be avoided as much as possible in order to create room for diplomatic solutions, peaceful conflict management and addressing the root causes of violence.

The MENA-region

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are not only geographically close to Europe, but also share historical, political-economic, cultural and military ties with it. During the colonial era, the European occupiers defined the current borders of the MENA states. These artificial borders have an influence on the political climate still today, just look at the Palestinian or Kurdish question.

Vrede has been campaigning for years to end the Israeli occupation, colonization and apartheid regime against the Palestinians. At the European level, the privileged economic and military ties with Israel must be broken. Vrede also stands in solidarity with the Kurds and supports emancipatory movements that stand up for their rights.

Recent developments suggest that the broader Middle East's vulnerability to conflict will certainly not diminish in the coming years. Military interventions in the region have had a profoundly destabilizing effect, and have contributed to terrorism and refugee flows. Vrede advocates for an efficient European development policy towards the frail MENA states, for a general demilitarization of the region and for imposing arms embargoes on human rights violators. Europe must also respect the right to asylum.