The EU and State-building in the Southern Neighbourhood: Insights from Palestine and Libya

Dimitris Bouris

The EU's approach to state-building is inspired by liberal peace principles and it is closely linked with the conceptualisation of peace as governance (Richmond 2005). The European Security Strategy (ESS) of 2003 clearly explains that one of the main objectives of the EU is crisis resolution and state reconstruction arguing that: 'The European Union and Member States have intervened to help deal with regional conflicts and to put failed states back on their feet'. The report on the implementation of the ESS, produced five years later, also argued that 'conflict is often linked to state fragility [and] Security Sector Reform and Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration are a key part of post-conflict stabilisation and reconstruction'. The literature on peacebuilding and state-building identifies three types of state-building: military state-building, post-conflict state-building and state-building as conflict resolution. The aim of this paper is to shed light on the EU's state-building initiatives in the southern Mediterranean through the deployment of CSDP missions. By focusing on EUBAM Rafah (border assistance mission - Palestine), EUPOL COPPS (police and rule of law mission - Palestine) and EUBAM Libya (border assistance mission - Libya) the paper aims at comparing the two different types of state-building conducted in the southern Mediterranean (Libya - military state-building, Palestine - state-building as conflict resolution) and explore how security has been conceptualized and operationalized by the EU in its southern neighbourhood as well as offer insights into its role as a state-builder.

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