The European Union (EU) recognises SSR as an important part of conflict prevention, peacebuilding, democratisation and sustainable development. This paper, by the European Commission, sets out principles for the European Community’s (EC) engagement in SSR. It aims to ensure a more coordinated approach across the various strands of EU external assistance relevant to SSR, and to improve complementarity between EC activities and those undertaken by the EU under the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and by member states bilaterally.
The security sector can be defined as all state institutions and other entities with a role in ensuring the security of the state and its citizens. SSR means transforming the security sector so it operates in a manner consistent with democratic norms and sound principles of good governance. The EC is engaged in SSR support in over 70 countries with varying political environments.
The report proposes the following principles for SSR processes supported by the EC:
- SSR processes should be nationally or regionally owned and designed to strengthen good governance, democratic norms, the rule of law and respect for human rights, in line with internationally agreed norms.
- SSR processes should address the core requirements of a functional security system and ensure that any development of professional security forces leads them to be both accountable to civil authorities and operationally capable.
- In implementing SSR, the role of civil society and other non-state structures of governance should be taken into account.
- SSR should be based on the same principles of accountability and transparency that apply across the public sector. For example, improving governance through greater civilian and parliamentary oversight.
- SSR should stem from political dialogue with partner countries that addresses human rights, development and security concerns. It should be carried out in synergy with other instruments.
The report makes the following recommendations to strengthen the EC contribution to overall EU support for SSR:
- International standards on SSR and the principles of EC support should be brought to the policy dialogue. Objectives on priorities and follow-up mechanisms should be agreed with governments and non-state actors.
- SSR in Country and Regional Strategy Papers, Action Plans and programming tools should be integrated, and training should be developed to help mainstream SSR into programming so as to allow the EC to take a holistic approach to SSR.
- A coordinated planning approach across the EU’s three-pillar structure should improve the coherence of actions.
- Coordination between EU actions by the EC, the EU through the CFSP and member states’ bilateral programmes should be strengthened at both headquarters and field level.
- The expertise for field missions and programmes should be expanded through cooperation between institutions, member states and the commission.
- Support for SSR should be prioritised under the new Financial Instruments by taking a comprehensive and holistic approach to SSR.
- Cooperation with international partners, such as the UN, OECD, OSCE and AU, should be strengthened through training, information sharing on best practice, and more coordinated planning and implementation of SSR support.