The Limits of the EU as a Peace and Security Actor in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Meike Froitzheim, Fredrik Söderbaum, Ian Taylor


The European Union (EU) is increasingly aspiring to be a global peace and security actor. Using the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as a test case to analyse such ambitions, this article reveals that the EU’s attempts to build peace and security are severely compromised by its bureaucratic and organizational complexity as well as by its ineffective policies. In fact, the EU’s state-centred approach in the DRC has resulted in the EU’s inability to deal with 1) the realities of governance in the DRC and 2) the strong transborder dimensions of the conflict. As a result, the EU continues to lack a coherent strategy for the DRC, despite a large budget. The analysis concludes that the EU is more concerned with establishing a symbolic presence and a form of representation than with achieving specific goals.

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