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New EU strategy on capacity building of partner countries

28 April 2015
by eub2 -- last modified 28 April 2015

The European Commission presented on 28 April new proposals to strengthen the link between security and development in the external actions of the European Union. A Joint Communication adopted by the European Commission and High Representative Federica Mogherini outlines options to help partner countries and regional organisations more effectively to develop their capacities to prevent and manage crises.


Why is it necessary to act on building partner countries' capacity to prevent and manage crises?

Poverty, violent conflict and lack of governance are crucial challenges to development with consequences on security. They also have an impact on Europe's own security and can undermine the impact of EU assistance to third countries.

To help partner countries and regional organisations address these challenges, it is important that the EU can provide them, amongst others, with efficient and comprehensive support so they can build the capacity to take care of their own security and development.

This is the purpose of today's Joint Communication. It identifies current gaps in the EU's response in providing security capacity building and proposes remedial measures.

What problems does this Communication propose to address?

The Communication examines the gaps in the EU's support to partner countries which are tackling grave security challenges, drawing on lessons learnt from CSDP and other external actions, and more specifically on two pilot cases in Mali and Somalia.

There, in addition to various support programmes in the field of security and development, the EU is running two Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) military training missions: EUTM Mali and EUTM Somalia. Several other CSDP missions (including training, counter-piracy and maritime capacity-building) are also under way in the two countries and the wider regions.

Challenges identified by the pilot cases include:

  • shortage of funding;
  • limitations of various instruments and mechanisms to fund the needs for security capacity-building, especially in the military sector;
  • limitations of the African Peace Facility to finance activities at national level;
  • practical challenges related to the use of a "patchwork" of different instruments in the same context.

For example, in some circumstances, units trained by the EU lacked food, water and medical equipment which rendered them reliant on the local population. Their soldiers were missing protective equipment against mines and explosive devices. Lack of communication equipment, which hindered their command and control, was also identified. No alternative funding could be identified to fill those gaps, making the EU's support less effective.

These are only some types of the gaps that this Communication intends to close.

What measures does this Communication propose?

The existing limitations cannot be addressed only through ad hoc arrangements. Instead, the Commission and the High Representative are proposing a number of actions:

  • better coordination within EU actions and between them, and the activities of Member States, so as to build a "unity of effort" (including more information sharing on capacity-building activities; better use of development cooperation expertise in CSDP actions, etc.);
  • consider proposals for stronger EU policy framework on security sector reform, monitoring, evaluation and results framework as well as risk management methodology;
  • consider feasibility of new measures for linking peace, security and development, including funding of equipment for actions related to security in certain countries and regions, especially where the EU already has active CSDP presence.

Where would the money come from?

The Communication intends to make better use of the EU's current instruments.

Within the EU budget, a significant part of external assistance programmes funded by the EU's development and cooperation instruments already tackles security and development challenges.

Outside the EU budget, the European Development Fund (EDF) provides further operational resources to implement the EU's development cooperation policy with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States under the Cotonou Partnership Agreement. The African Peace Facility, funded through the EDF, is the most far-reaching instrument to address the security and development nexus. It supports the African Union and regional economic communities for African peacekeeping operations (for example AMISOM, the African Union Mission in Somalia). In addition, the EU supports conflict prevention, management and resolution through the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA).

Resources for EU military operations are also allocated by Member States - either directly by those participating in the operations, or through the Athena mechanism, which manages the financing of common costs related to EU military operations under the CSDP.

Will this proposal redirect funding from development projects into military capacities?

No. Security and development go hand in hand and reinforce each other. The countries struggling with violent extremism and conflict are also those lagging behind in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. So helping the most vulnerable partners in building up their security and stability is also part of the EU's contribution to their development.

The Communication stresses the need for mutually reinforcing interventions in the areas of security and development. While this may include both police and military capacity building, it must also encompass a number of other security and institution-building measures in key sectors.

The Communication also strongly emphasises that the new proposals do not envisage funding for weapons or other lethal equipment as the EU is not providing such equipment.

Communication on the European Agenda on Security