One of the core principles of EU interventions under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) has been local ownership. While the EU takes pride in fully respecting this principle, the existing research suggests that the implementation has been far from smooth. However, we still know very little how this principle is conceptualised and operationalised, let alone why its implementation has been so difficult. Drawing on document analysis and 27 in-depth interviews, the article makes 3 arguments. First, ownership is increasingly construed in the EU policy rhetoric as a middle ground between imposition and restraint. Second, in practice, ownership is operationalised as an externally driven, top-down endeavour, resulting in the low degree of local participation. Third, in addition to the obstacles normally faced by other peace-builders, the EU’s efforts to implement ownership are constrained by the politics and policy-making of CSDP. The arguments are illustrated in a case study of the European Union Mission on Regional Maritime Capacity Building in the Horn of (EUCAP Nestor).
- EUCAP Nestor
- local ownership