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Research Report

The EU as a security actor in Africa: In-depth study Clingendael Monitor 2016

Dick Zandee (editing)
Hans Hoebeke
Hans Merket
Minke Meijnders
Copyright Date: Dec. 1, 2015
Published by: Clingendael Institute
Pages: 44

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. 2-3)
  2. (pp. 4-4)
  3. (pp. 5-6)

    The Clingendael Monitor 2015 points to continuing destabilisation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). However the specific geographical reference to North Africa is no longer applicable. The zone of instability has spread to the Sahel and sub-Saharan Africa. Tensions also remain elsewhere on the African continent (in the Great Lakes states, for example), often related to past conflicts.

    Instability and conflict in Africa create a range of security problems for Europe. Rapidly increasing migration via the Mediterranean Sea, extremism and terrorism, as well as cross-border crime, all have implications for security in Europe, but are spill-over effects of...

  4. (pp. 7-20)
    Hans Hoebeke

    Africa continues to be the most unstable continent, although this fact is overshadowed by the burgeoning crisis in the Middle East. The struggle for political legitimacy, control of the state and access to economic power are the main causes of armed conflict. Despite an increase in the number of ‘democratic’ elections, power structures remain largely centralised and patrimonial. Elections are a zero-sum game. In addition, the fault lines in many states are based predominantly on identity: regional, ethnic or religious. The recent example of Burkina Faso also showed that coups (or attempted coups) are still part of the political toolkit.²...

  5. (pp. 21-30)
    Hans Merket

    The great range of instruments and areas of action covered by the European Union’s foreign policy is both its source of power and its Achilles’ heel. In security policy terms, the EU plays a role throughout the conflict cycle, from conflict prevention, peace-making and peacekeeping through to reconstruction. This important comparative advantage enables it to deal with complex problems, but it also makes policy coherence hard to achieve. Ensuring consistency between powers, EU institutions and member states is an old problem, not least with regard to the often compartmentalised and extremely sovereignty-sensitive Common Security and Defence Policy.

    The ‘broad’, ‘integrated’...

  6. (pp. 31-41)
    Minke Meijnders and Dick Zandee

    Since the first military operations and civilian missions were launched under the European Security and Defence Policy (the predecessor of the CSDP), the EU has been very active on the African continent. Operation Artemis, launched in 2003, was the first operation in Africa; its purpose was to help the UN stabilise the security situation in the Bunia region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The EU carried out 18 missions and operations (out of a total of 34) in Africa between 2003 and the end of 2015; nine have been completed and nine are still ongoing. Africa will remain the...

  7. (pp. 42-44)

    1. Africa remains the most unstable continent. Conflicts continue to proliferate, and many countries in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel and sub-Saharan Africa are failing to make the transition to minimal stability.

    2. Causes of conflicts often lie in a complex mix of underdevelopment, patrimonial state structures, fragmented societies, regional factors and demographics.

    3. Religious radicalisation associated with political violence and terrorism has spread from North Africa via the Sahel to sub-Saharan Africa. A less well-known development is the emergence of new Christian movements that are forming ties with (autocratic) political forces and offering social support for radical (Christian) youth.

    4. Instability in...