The limits of European power were demonstrated in Sudan and the DRC as the US and China took the lead in averting a new war. EU member states suspended aid to the DRC.
Europeans were actively involved in efforts to end the crises in both the Sudans and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but had less leverage than the US in both cases. Sudan and South Sudan came close to war in April after an escalation of tensions, driven by disputes over oil revenues and border areas, between the two parts of the country that separated in 2011. The AU took the lead in negotiating a peaceful outcome, backed by threats of sanctions from the UNSC. The US worked hard publicly and privately in support of the AU and China, which was concerned about threats to its energy investments and played a crucial role in averting war. In the past, the UK played a prominent role in Sudanese affairs but its influence has reduced in recent years. South Sudan also suffers from significant internal security problems. In June, the European Council launched a CSDP mission to help build up security at the country’s main airport. Critics argued that the EU could have provided this assistance without a CSDP mission.
The DRC was shaken by rebel attacks in the east that culminated in the last quarter of the year. The EU’s response to rebel activity in the eastern DRC was complicated by evidence of links between the rebels and Rwanda, a major recipient of EU aid. Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK suspended some aid to Rwanda in the summer (although there was confusion over UK policy) and the European Commission also did so in September. This did not stop Rwandan-backed rebels seizing the important city of Goma in November. The US blocked an effort by France to “name and shame” Rwanda in the UNSC and focused instead on quiet diplomacy leading to a rebel withdrawal. The EU has two CSDP missions in the DRC, dealing with security sector and police issues, but some member states – notably Germany – have questioned whether they still have value.
|Leaders: Austria - Belgium - Estonia - France - Germany - Ireland - Italy - Poland - Spain
|Slackers: Cyprus - Denmark - Greece - Lithuania - Portugal - Romania