The UN managed to navigate major challenges in Sudan and the DRC in 2011. The EU was an active but fairly low-profile partner in these processes.
In 2011, large-scale UN peacekeeping forces helped guide South Sudan to independence and secure controversial elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Although EU member states are important political and financial supporters of these UN missions, they played a relatively low profile in both cases in 2011. South Sudan voted for independence in January and formally seceded in July. The January referendum (monitored by the EU) was smooth, although the secession was complicated by fighting over the disputed region of Abyei. As 2011 went on, tensions between Sudan and South Sudan grew worse. The US, the UN and China acted as mediators. EU member states have lost influence over Sudanese affairs in recent years. The European Council offered €200 million in aid to ease South Sudan’s transition but suggestions for a military or sizeable civilian mission to assist South Sudan were not implemented, although plans for assisting the main airport were pursued.
The UN experienced a difficult year in the DRC, where President Joseph Kabila put pressure on the peacekeepers to leave. Presidential elections were held in November and December. During previous elections in 2006, the EU deployed troops to reinforce the UN but there was no serious discussion of repeating this mission in 2011. The EU did, however, send electoral observers. They raised numerous concerns about the polls, in which Kabila was re-elected.Overall, the EU’s posture towards the DRC and Sudan and South Sudan in 2011 suggests a decreasing desire to take direct risks in both cases. The UN oversaw these situations relatively competently, justifying the EU’s indirect approach, but it is not clear that it can do so indefinitely, especially as it reduces its peacekeeping presence in the DRC. UN forces in the Darfur region of northern Sudan continued to struggle. The dangers of further humanitarian crises in one of these huge African countries remain considerable.
|Leaders: Ireland - Netherlands - Spain - Sweden - United Kingdom|
|Slackers: Latvia - Lithuania - Poland - Romania|