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Fostering an EU strategy for security sector reform in the Mediterranean: learning from Turkish and Palestinian police reform experiences

Collantes-Celador, G., Soler i Lecha, E., Reigeluth, S. , Aytar, V. & Arican, M. (2008). Fostering an EU strategy for security sector reform in the Mediterranean: learning from Turkish and Palestinian police reform experiences (66). Lisbon: EuroMeSCo.


In the absence of an overarching strategy, Turkey and the Palestinian territories depict how the EU has adopted different approaches to security sector reform (SSR) which have not facilitated the consolidation of a common EU foreign policy, though the situation might soon change given respective SSR-related documents from the Council and Commission. This report contributes to the security sector debate by stressing that in conflict and post-conflict scenarios endurable SSR requires fomenting synergies between the police and judicial sectors and the inclusion of DDR, in tandem with the institutional implementation of transparent, accountable and democratic oversight mechanisms. There is an adamant need for constructive consistency when applying this central facet of EU foreign policy in the Mediterranean basin and beyond.

SSR is an emerging phenomenon in conflict, post-conflict and development scenarios that has acquired a prominent role within the policy agendas of key international actors. As a prelude to the two case studies, and in order to better understand the EU’s end goal, a brief analysis of the two pivotal European SSR documents is provided with particular emphasis on their contribution to develop a more coherent and effective EU presence in this field. More specific consideration is then given to the role played by SSR-related matters within the framework of two EU foreign policy mechanisms towards the Mediterranean: the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP), also known as the Barcelona Process, and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).

The two case studies - Turkey and the Palestinian territories - are exceptional due to the nature of their geopolitical position in regional and international politics. Both demonstrate different levels of state development and different degrees of monopoly over the legitimate use of force, which have contributed to the development of different EU approaches to SSR, tailored to the specific needs of the local context in which the Union is operating. Both cases also demonstrate how the EU emphasizes democracy or security depending on the respective circumstantial differences. Turkey exemplifies by and large the EU accession process of fulfilling democratic reform in return for EU membership. The Palestinian case illustrates how security demands precede democratic apertures. Together, both highlight the lack of a consistent and comprehensive EU SSR strategy, the lack of which continues to impede the emergence of a common EU foreign policy.

This study makes a set of recommendations for the two case studies, and concludes with more general ones applicable to the broader Euro-Mediterranean area. These are mainly addressed to the European Commission, Council of the EU (and thus, Member States) and European Parliament. Moreover, the conclusions and recommendations included in this report could inspire the work of various advocacy groups in the fields of SSR, conflict resolution and democracy and human rights promotion given that, based on the “human security” logic, this report departs from the assumption that police reform encapsulates both modernising and democratising processes.

Publication Type: Report
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Departments: City, University of London (-2022) > School of Arts & Social Sciences
School of Arts & Social Sciences
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