chapter  14
The EU in the Congolese police reform: structural diplomacy without coordination or alignment?
Pages 17

Introduction Structural diplomacy is the process by which an actor seeks to reform or develop sustainable structures incorporating the various relevant sectors (political, legal, technical, financial) in their efforts and directing these at the various relevant levels (individual, societal, state, regional) simultaneously (based on Keukeleire, Thiers and Justaert 2009: 146; see also Chapter 12 in this book). Applying the elements of structural diplomacy to the politics of security sector reform (SSR), we do not only analyse the traditional approach to security sector reform focusing on the reform of defence structures, the police, the rule of law and the judicial system. The analysis goes further and also includes the promotion of good governance within these sectors, reform and capacity-building in their internal and external control and oversight institutions, accompanied by provision of the necessary financial resources to support these activities and transparency in their use. The main argument in this chapter is that the achievement of an effective and sustainable EU structural diplomacy builds upon the integration of two core principles: coordination and alignment. The former deals with the coordination of all the diplomatic actors involved, such as the European Commission, Council of the EU, the member states of the EU, and the UN and third countries, as well as with coordination across various interrelated policy domains, like security policies, development cooperation and economic cooperation. Alignment refers to the adaptation of external actors’ diplomatic activities to the institutions, procedures and strategies of the target country or the stakeholders in the reform process(es), particularly in the negotiation and determination of how these reforms are conceptualised and implemented. In this chapter, we will develop this argument by analysing the European diplomatic activities in the Congolese police reform between 2007 and 2011. The end of the transition and the first democratic elections in 2006 reawakened European engagement in Congolese development, especially in its fragile security sector. However, European diplomatic engagement in this reform has been fragmented. Not only is the level of engagement in the different dimensions of SSR unbalanced. Also within the sector of police reform, European

activities are fragmented. The Council of the EU was involved in the Congolese police reform under its CSDP framework (the EUPOL DRC mission that was launched in 2007 and that lasted until the end of 2014) (Council of the European Union 2012), and also the European Commission through its development programme is active in this field (RDC/CE 2008). In addition, particular member states of the EU undertook separate diplomatic and operational activities in the Congolese police reform during this period. This wide presence made internal EU coordination a core determining variable. The reform of the Congolese National Police (Police nationale congolaise, PNC) on the ground was characterised by multiple challenges linked to the specific socio-economic and Congolese political environment that had an impact on the conceptualisation and implementation of European policies and that made the alignment of European policies to this environment the second key building block in the application of a structural diplomacy. In the first section we briefly introduce and frame the concepts of governance, coordination and alignment as building blocks of a structural diplomacy in order to allow their application to the case of the Congolese police reform. In the second section we present an overview of the challenges, actors and processes in the Congolese police reform, or, in short, the stakes in a structural Congolese police reform for the European Union. As from the third section, we analyse the EU’s diplomatic presence, fragmented role and internal coordination processes in the field (in Kinshasa) as a first main problematic building block in the development of a structural diplomacy. In the fourth section we concentrate on the degree and the way in which European diplomacy has been aligned to Congolese country systems and national strategies. Given the focus on effective internal EU coordination and the degree to which the EU’s diplomatic actors and activities align to the country’s institutions and activities, this chapter presents foremost an analysis of field level diplomacy, rather than focusing on what happens in the Brussels scene. Moreover, given the period under investigation, the pre-Lisbon Treaty foreign policy system as well as the innovations brought by the Lisbon Treaty are integrated in the analysis. The empirical data for the research were gathered through more than 80 in-depth interviews in Brussels and Kinshasa and during participatory observation at the international diplomatic level and at the Congolese police reform bodies in Kinshasa in 2009 and 2010 (see also Justaert 2012a, 2012b).1