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Research Report

The EU’s Support to Security System Reform in the Democratic Republic of Congo:: Perceptions from the field in Spring 2010

Sylvie More
Megan Price
Copyright Date: May. 1, 2011
Published by: Clingendael Institute
Pages: 73
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Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. 1-4)

    Over the last 15 years, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has seen epileptic shifts between war and relative stability. In responding to the ongoing political and civilian crisis, the European Union (EU) has emerged as one of the main donors, channelling a significant proportion of its aid into the reform of the DRC’s state security apparatus. In early 2010, the EU was represented on the ground by two Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)⁷ missions, a European Commission (EC) Delegation⁸, a number of EU Member State embassies and an EU Special Representative for the Great Lakes Region who...

  2. (pp. 5-10)

    As recognised in the Country Strategy Paper developed by the Government of the DRC and the EC, the DRC demonstrates all the characteristics of a fragile state whose basic foundations need to be strengthened;18 the DRC has over the last 40 years been plagued by insecurity, weak rule of law and dysfunctional institutions. This chapter presents a brief overview of the political and security situation of the DRC today, the state-building approach pursued by donors and the limited progress made until now as regards SSR. Thus, this chapter defines the contours of the operational context in which the EU is...

  3. (pp. 11-22)

    The DRC has been the object of EU political and diplomatic attention for over 15 years.31 Recently, the EU has taken more strident action in supporting the reform of the security system. After the signing of the Global All Inclusive Peace Agreement in 2003, the EU twice sent troops to assist UN peacekeepers: Operation Artemis and EUFOR RD Congo. However, these short-term military interventions did not constitute assistance to restructuring of the DRC’s security system, an endeavour which officially began in 2005 with the first mandate of EUSEC RD Congo.32

    Since that time, EU activity has expanded and intensified. Currently,...

  4. (pp. 23-32)

    A primary issue under investigation in this research project is the coherence of EU support in partner countries. As coherence is engendered through coordination and communication, attention was given to the form and quality of these aspects among the various EU bodies working in the DRC. On the whole, EU coherence in the DRC was described as suboptimal. This chapter outlines how coherence is stymied both by issues arising from the EU’s fragmented approach and its SSR architecture.

    A key concern regarding EU support to SSR in the DRC is the lack of awareness on the part of EU actors...

  5. (pp. 33-42)

    Given the circumstances and challenges detailed in previous chapters, field-level perceptions of the EU’s impact on SSR in the DRC have not been roundly positive. Some strong criticisms fell on the CSDP missions in particular. A few judged the missions to be too sporadic, carrying out a wide scope of assistance projects – even if valuable – in order to justify their presence rather than in the interest of advancing comprehensive reform. On the other hand, the Delegation was criticised for being too rigid in their five-year programmes, and not nimble enough to respond to the challenging and capricious political...

  6. (pp. 43-50)

    The complexity of the fragile state environment of the DRC and the evolving, multi-actor approach that the EU has taken to providing support in this area since the Congolese Transition Period, makes for a valuable case study on the effectiveness of the EU set-up for supporting SSR in conflict-affected or post-conflict countries. As has been presented in this report, a number of challenges existed in Spring 2010 as regards the coherence and implementation of EU support to SSR in the DRC. Several changes which have taken place since then indicate a positive evolution. Beneficial repercussions of the changes brought about...