Summer School: Security Sector Reform and EU External Crisis Management

by: Fausto Octavio Brindis Abraham

Issues of SSR within the framework of the EU External Crisis Management are just one part of a complicated and extensive system through which the EU expresses its policies and interests. From this lecture we learned very broadly how the decision making process and allocation of responsibilities take place in the European External Action Services.

This poses many challenges at different levels. First, the political decision process becomes one of the main challenges when thinking about intervening in missions as SSR Operation, Executive Mandate, Mentoring and Monitoring, or Rule of Law. Once the EU agrees what priorities and goals are to achieve, challenges of mandate and implementation appear. The size and multi-level character of the EU and the EEAS, aimed to assure a level of security, efficacy and democracy in its plans, hinder the responsiveness and quick reaction capabilities in case a humanitarian emergency requires attention from EU members. The numbers of steps are long and take considerable consultation before deciding on matters such as the what kind of personal are to take in the missions, the equipment they need and the logistics to support each mission. Finding the right experts, financing the missions and providing an adequate cooperation framework with the host country heavily influence the decision process.

Relating this process and structures with the topic of fragile and post-conflict countries is fundamental for understanding the setbacks and failures faced by international missions and donor countries when implementing strategies in these countries. Not only does the EU has to provide aid and support in fragile state, but also faces a great deal of pressure in terms of delivering results whenever intervenes in any fragile country. Learning and understanding how the gears of such complex institutions work help us to analyse what steps can be taken to improve those areas where the expectations do not meet the reality. This has become the main challenge for the international donor community and its policies towards fragile and post-conflict states.