Blogging on Issues of International and European Security

Security Sector Reform Missions under CSDP: Addressing Current Needs

Communicate, Coordinate and Cooperate :  A series of papers on Cohering EU Crisis Management in the post-Lisbon Era

 – Executive Summary –

August 2011

This paper highlights some major operational challenges that hinder Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) mission planners and field personnel from effectively implementing security sector reform (SSR) missions. Member States have launched 13[1] SSR missions without mustering the political will to supply sufficient adequately-trained personnel, money and equipment. The European External Action Service (EAS) with its EU Delegations certainly has the potential to improve integrated planning of SSR missions, though it remains to be seen how its constituent parts i.e. staff and departments from the Council, Commission and Member States, will interact in practice. Also, given that the great majority of CSDP missions are of civilian nature, more resources will be needed for civilian planning as well as evaluation of past engagement.

At the end of the day, the main challenges for SSR missions will have to be tackled by the Member States themselves who currently do not show much interest in further integrating their civilian and military capabilities. On the other hand, they have been keen on promoting the recent CSDP mission in Guinea-Bissau as following a holistic approach to SSR. However, although successful from a purely operational point of view, this mission once again demonstrated the EU’s weakness when it comes to pursuing political objectives under uncomfortable conditions.

Member States must decide on whether or not they want the EU to become a viable international actor in the field of SSR. If so, they must clearly prioritise future CSDP missions in order not to waste scarce resources through mere flag raising exercises. Therefore, and in addition to addressing the operational needs mentioned above, the EU needs to agree on an SSR strategy in the EAS which would clarify the concrete criteria for intervention as well as objectives to be achieved in the framework of SSR-related CSDP missions.

By Sebastian Bloching

Full paper available on the ISIS website

[1] EUPM Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), EUPOL Proxima (succeeded by EUPAT fYR Macedonia), EUJUST Themis, EUPOL Kinshasa, EUSEC DRC, EUJUST LEX Iraq, EUBAM Rafah, EUPOL COPPS (Palestine), EUPOL DRC, EUPOL Afghanistan, EUSSR Guinea-Bissau, EULEX Kosovo and EUTM Somalia. See EULEX Kosovo will, however, not be dealt with in the paper, as it not representative of CSDP SSR missions due to its size and mandate – it has executive powers whereas all the other missions have non-executive mandates.


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This entry was posted on 16/08/2011 by in Opinions and tagged , , , , .


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