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Partnering in crisis management: ten years of EU-UN cooperation

13 September 2013
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Nearly a decade ago on 24 September 2003, the UN and the EU signed a Joint Declaration on UN-EU Cooperation in Crisis Management. At the time, the two institutions had limited experience of one another, and apart from some cooperation between the European Commission and UN agencies dealing with development and humanitarian affairs, very little had brought them together in the field of crisis management. Ten years later, the UN-EU relationship has taken shape and become a permanent feature of the crisis management landscape. The EU works with the UN in most of its missions, and mutual cooperation has been gradually institutionalised.

Although EU member states do not contribute much in the way of manpower to UN peacekeeping operations, they do finance a significant share of their costs. Most recently, the EU has also produced a Plan of Action to enhance CSDP support to UN peacekeeping. Yet, despite this progress, the UN-EU relationship seems now to be a bit out of breath, and ten years of cooperation have also laid bare the limits of what the two institutions can achieve together.