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European Union

The European Union (EU) engages in security sector reform (SSR) as part of its development cooperation, conflict prevention and crisis management support as well as forming part of EU pre-accession assistance. Efforts to develop a common, coherent and comprehensive approach to SSR began in 2006 with the release of an overarching policy framework for SSR support which brought together instruments across several EU policy areas and bridged the fields of security and development.


All EU Member States are members of the DCAF Foundation Council. DCAF supports the EU from its Headquarters in Geneva, directly in field locations, and also has a DCAF office located in Brussels. DCAF benefits from secondments from EU members while a significant proportion of DCAF's activities are also supported by member states. In relation to the development of the EU's approach to SSR, DCAF has supported a number of EU Presidencies in advancing this agenda.

While the EU concept papers highlight the great deal of progress made, it is acknowledged that this is only the beginning of the EU's efforts to shape its support in this area. To fulfil a key strategic objective of the Centre, DCAF has provided significant support to developing the EU's emerging approach to SSR though policy advice, policy research and operational activities. DCAF continues to receive important EU policy research mandates in our core business of security sector reform. Increasingly prominent in DCAF's cooperation with the EU has been a wide range of operational activities. An approach that seeks to bridge policy and practice enables DCAF to contribute to a holistic EU agenda for SSR. This paper summarises DCAF's EU SSR-related activities to date.

In addition to supporting the EU's SSR activities outside the Union, DCAF also works to strengthen security sector governance (SSG) within the EU. Notably, the Centre has been involved in a number initiatives designed to enhance parliamentary oversight of the EU's own internal security, justice and home affairs agencies, as well as its overseas missions. Key projects have included:

For more information on DCAF activities with the EU please see the following factsheets (summary) (complete version).