As a multifaceted international actor, the EU is active in all three dimensions of statebuilding as an approach to peacebuilding. It is active as a security actor, although it is still considered to be very weak in this capacity.
It is also active in the political sphere where democracy promotion, transitional justice, legitimacy and rule of law are the main components. In its capacities as the world’s largest trade bloc and biggest donor, the EU is of course also active in the economic dimension of statebuilding, which focuses on economic development through marketization, liberalization, good governance and the financing of NGOs. As the rest of this chapter builds largely on various EU documents, it is to a certain extent a self-image of the EU that is presented. How this self-image of the EU as a statebuilder then corresponds to the work that the EU has done in the Palestinian territories is something I look into in chapters 6 and 7, which deal with the Palestinian
bring together a wide range of civilian and/or military activities in the framework of SSR activities. The EU has, according to the Council’s General Secretariat, the capacity to take a holistic approach in supporting SSR outside the Union by using its political, diplomatic, civilian and military means (Council of the European Union, General Secretariat 2005:10).
In this context, it is certainly possible to make the argument that the security landscape the EU faces has been even further complicated since the financial crisis erupted in 2008-2009 with the debt crisis in the Eurozone, mass unemployment and violent protests in several European countries. The Arab uprisings of 2011 have also contributed to further instability and uncertainty in the EU’s foreign and security policy.
4.7.1 Security sector reform
As the term security sector reform became popular in the early 2000s, the EU found that it had been unwittingly promoting SSR for a long time because of its efforts to support democracy, human rights, rule of law etc., of which good security sector governance was a fundamental component (Spence 2010:195). The Commission wrote in a 2006 communication to the Council and the European Parliament that the EU was currently engaged in SSR-related support in over 70 countries through both geographical and thematic programmes (European Commission 2006:6).
Many of these countries are not directly conflict or post-conflict societies and the SSR-related measures include Development Cooperation, Enlargement, the Stabilisation and Association Process, the European Neighbourhood Policy, Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management, Democracy and Human Rights, and the External Dimension of the area of Freedom, Security and Justice (European Commission 2006:3). More practically, EU support for SSR takes the form of reforming law enforcement institutions, justice institutions, and state institutions dealing with the management and oversight of the security system. The EU is also involved in a large number of activities that help to strengthen civilian control and democratic oversight of the public sector in general, which indirectly contribute to SSR (European Commission, DG for External Relations 2006:8).
In line with the academic literature on SSR, the EU sees the overall SSR process as a long-term process, even though some measures can be
short-term, and based on strong national ownership tailored to the specific needs of an individual state and its people (European Commission 2006:3, Council of the European Union 2006, Council of the European Union, General Secretariat 2005:11). When reviewing EU documents on SSR, I have not found a particular EU definition of the concept. Instead, the Council has concluded that EU action on SSR should be based on the following principles, adopted from the OECD-DAC definition on SSR:
• nationally/regionally owned participatory reform processes.
• addressing the core requirements of a well-functioning security system.
• addressing diverse security challenges facing states and their populations.
• accountability and transparency standards should be the same that apply across the public sector.
• political dialogue with each partner country.
(Council of the European Union 2006:16-17)
Also in line with the argument made in the SSR literature that without security other tasks of statebuilding and reconstruction will not be possible, the EU’s security strategy recognizes that “[s]ecurity is a precondition of development.” (European Security Strategy 2003:2) Basically all EU documents on SSR stress the need for the Union to take a holistic approach to SSR (See, for example, Council of the European Union 2006, European Commission 2006, Council of the European Union, General Secretariat 2005).
One part of this holistic EU approach to SSR is the concept of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), which the EU has identified as a significant pillar of SSR in some cases. At the same time, the EU has stressed that SSR remains the primary concept here and that DDR is seen as a complement, or a specific approach, to SSR (European Commission, DG for External Relations 2006, EU Concept for support to DDR 2006:5). It is primarily a number of African countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Ivory Coast, which have been the focus of the Union’s DDR work (European Commission, DG for External Relations 2006).
At the same time, the CSDP mission to Aceh had a DDR component within it and there are many overlaps between the EU’s SSR activities in other places and DDR. For example, the training of police officers in conflict
and post-conflict societies, which the EU sees as part of its SSR activities, is almost always about some form of reintegration into society of former irregular combatants. Some of the approximately two dozen CSDP missions launched to date have indeed taken a holistic approach to SSR. The EUPOL COPPS police mission in the West Bank, for example, covers a chain of SSR activities from police to prisons with the whole justice apparatus in between.
Other CSDP missions have been more limited in scope, such as the monitoring missions in Aceh and Gaza, but all the CSDP missions launched so far have in some way been related to SSR activities, directly or indirectly.
It is also clear that they must be characterized as light security missions with relatively little risk for the personnel involved. For the really hard security missions, like deploying combat troops to the most dangerous theaters of war, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, European states have preferred to do this outside the EU framework, either under NATO or bilaterally together with the U.S. This pattern was repeated in the 2011 intervention in Libya. All this of course underscores the well-known weaknesses of the EU as a hard military actor.
4.7.2 Human security and human rights
Human security is another such concept that is increasingly being used by the EU. The Commission has stated that security should not be limited to the security of the state or of a particular regime. Instead, it should include both the internal and external security of a state as well as of its people (European Commission 2006:4). A study group reporting to the EU’s former High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, even suggested that the EU “should build its security policy on a ‘human security doctrine’, aimed at protecting individuals through law-enforcement with the occasional use of force” (quoted in Solana 2004).
So far, this has not happened, but in the foreword to the Commission’s publication The European Union Furthering Human Rights and Democracy across the Globe, published in 2007, former Commissioner for the EU’s external relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, wrote that human security is now central in the EU’s work to promote democracy and human rights. Human security in the words of Ferrero-Waldner means “looking at the comprehensive security of people, not the security of states, encompassing
both freedom from fear and freedom from want.” (European Commission 2007a:3)
Arguably, the concept of human security with its focus away from state security towards security of the individual resonates well with the EU’s self-image as a worldwide promoter of human rights and democracy. More than anything else, human rights together with democracy are at the heart of the EU’s history, identity, stated values and foreign and security policy, and the Union never misses a chance to say so. In dozens, if not hundreds of EU publications and other documents, one finds that the EU is constantly using the two terms democracy and human rights about its founding and identity as well as about the work it is doing (See, for example, Maastricht Treaty, Treaty of Lisbon, Council of the European Union 2009c).
The Council’s conclusions on Democracy Support in the EU’s External Relations from 2009 stated that human rights and democracy were inextricably connected. In its 2007 publication on human rights, the Commission linked human rights to peace and development and stated that without human rights neither peace nor development is possible (European Commission 2007a:5). In the same report, the Commission also stated that
“democracy and human rights are par excellence issues of global concern and constitute ‘public goods’” (European Commission 2007a:21). Since 1995, the Commission has systematically included a standard “human rights and democracy clause” in all agreements, other than sectorial agreements, concluded with non-industrialized countries defining respect for human rights and democracy as an essential element underlying the bilateral relations (European Commission/Council General Secretariat 2009:30).
Even in agreements with industrialized countries similar clauses have been inserted. Human rights clauses are now considered by the EU to be an
“essential element” of its agreements with more than 120 countries. The aim of this is to tie human rights to other key parts of each agreement, and there is also the possibility of re-examining the agreement in the event of serious and persistent breaches of human rights (EEAS 2010:10). Moreover, “[t]he EU has made a very public commitment to protecting Human Rights Defenders, i.e. those people who expose human rights violations and seek redress for victims.” (EEAS 2010:13)