According to its official web portal, the European Union (EU) is an economic and political partnership between 28 European countries. Created after the Second World War, its goal is to encourage economic cooperation and, therefore, avoid conflict. The European Economic Community (EEC) was created in 1958. It initially included six countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. In 1993, to mark its evolution from a purely economic union to a political one, the EEC adopted its current denomination of European Union (EU). The EU is based on the rule of law. Furthermore, human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights are the fundamental values of the EU. The core founding document of the EU is the Lisbon Treaty of 2009.
What does the EU do for Security Sector Reform?
The EU has been involved in a number of Security Sector Reform areas since its inception. This includes police and military operations, strengthening the rule of law, and reinforcing judicial and penitentiary systems. Initially, these activities were conducted without specific SSR policies. In 2003, the EU adopted its first European Security Strategy. In 2005, the European Council adopted the Concept for European Security and Defence Policy support to SSR. In 2006, the Commission adopted the Concept for European Community Support to SSR. These documents mark the conceptual approach of the EU to SSR. In 2016 the European Commission published its Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council – Elements for an EU-wide strategic framework to support security sector reform.
The European Union undertakes SSR activities on three interconnected levels: the community level, the member-state level, and in cooperation with international organisations. On the community level, activities are carried out, mainly, by the Council and the Commission. Those undertaken by the Commission are exclusively civilian, whereas the Council carries out civilian, military and mixed activities. On the member-state level, EU states both influence the EU agenda and policies on SSR and carry out activities of their own in third countries. The EU as an organisation is highly present in the SSR arena developed by International Organisations. Additionally, member-states participate through their membership and on their own initiative in numerous SSR initiatives carried out in collaboration with International Organisations. Consequently, there is a great array of overlapping SSR projects, activities and partnerships that include, are funded by, hosted and organised by the EU or involve EU member-states, etc.
The EU has played a significant role in the efforts made by OSCE, OECD, UN, NATO and the Council of Europe (CoE) to develop norms and best practices for democratic security sector governance. An important example of those efforts is the adoption of the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military relations of 1994.
Other important example of EU’s involvement in SSR efforts:
OECD DAC Handbook on Security System Reform: Supporting Security and Justice. 2008
What does the EU do for SSR in Ukraine?
Historically, much of the EU’s assistance has been focused on a limited number of agencies and issues related to SSR without them being a part of a coherent SSR strategy. However, the EU’s support towards SSR in Ukraine has grown and matured over the years. There is currently a multitude of potentially overlapping SSR support projects in Ukraine where EU state-members, agencies and funding are involved.
According to a recent mapping study conducted by Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA), International Support to Security Sector Reform in Ukriane, there are currently five European entities directly involved in SSR-related projects in Ukraine:
Additionally, 22 EU member-states are supporting the Ukrainian Security Sector. Moreover, there are multilateral support projects conducted by:
According to FBA’s Mapping Study, the EU is the largest donor when it comes to projects related to Border and Customs Agencies. Thirty-five projects with EU donor involvement have thus been identified in Ukraine in the SSR area. These projects focus on the following thematic areas:
- Capacity Development
- Border Security and Human-Trafficking
- Parliamentary and Public Oversight
- Public Management
- Justice Reform
- Democracy and Human Rights
Further information on these projects can be found in the mapping study.
European Union (EU) official web portal
Måns Hanssen (Folke Bernadotte Academy 2016), International Support to Security Sector Reform in Ukraine. A Mapping Study of SSR Projects.