Dr. Shyamika-Javasundara-Smits

Policy and Research Papers

From Revolution to Reform and Back: EU-Security Sector Reform in Ukraine

Security Sector Reform (SSR) is an important tool in the EU’s external intervention toolkit. Against the backdrop of an increasingly uncertain global security environment and especially against the backdrop of changing geo-political relations, the EU has currently stepped up its SSR endeavours globally, and particularly in its eastern neighbourhood.

This paper considers the case of the EU’s ongoing Security Sector Reform efforts in Ukraine and uses primary and secondary data collected by the Whole of Society for Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding (WOSCAP) project. It first investigates the unique challenges faced by the EU’s SSR efforts in Ukraine. Then, applying the ‘Whole of Society’ approach (WOS) to the European Union Advisory Mission (EUAM) in Ukraine, it analyses the configuration of EU’s current approach to SSR, both conceptually and operationally, including the various internal and external factors underlying them.

The report argues that the EU’s current SSR efforts in Ukraine are conceived narrowly and lack a long term governance-development approach. Further, by resorting to a much narrower, topdown, institutionalist approach to SSR and given the tense political atmosphere in the region, the EU’s SSR efforts serve to reinforce a vertical coherence gap and divisions within Ukrainian society. We recommend a ‘thicker approach’ to SSR in Ukraine, firmly built on the principles of local ownership and inclusivity as a way of enhancing the EU’s political and normative leverage in Ukraine and its ability to improve the security sector governance architecture both in the country and in the wider region.

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EU and Security Sector Reform: Tilting at Windmills?


This study by Dr. Shyamika-Javasundara-Smits and Dr. Lisa Schirch was produced as part of the project “Whole of Society Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding”. This project aims to enhance the EU’s peacebuilding and conflict prevention capabilities. It is part of the first series of orientation papers that were intended to indicate lines of inquiry and propose research questions, as a basis for discussion and input for the project's Theoretical and Methodological Framework. The main objective of this study is to provide an initial orientation to the EU's Security Sector Reform by focusing on related policy developments and scholarly knowledge production on SSR. Further, by reviewing a few EU SSR operational missions, this paper highlights a few key challenges and gaps the EU faces in realizing its SSR goals and, more generally, its civilian peacebuilding and crisis management goals.

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