Conceptualising EU development in the African Union : will Brexit matter? (2019)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Thesis DisciplineEuropean Studies
Degree NameMaster of European Union Studies
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
AuthorsGumbo, Cashiasshow all
Scholars have asked whether the European Union (EU) should be referred to as a civilian power (Duchêne, 1973) rather than a military power (Bull, 1982). Others have argued that the EU is neither a civilian nor a military power but a normative power (Manners, 2002). Manners (2002) argues that the EU is a normative power because the EU promotes its norms and values without the use of military force. In the endeavour to support developing countries through a set of diffusional methods, the EU has managed to transfer its norms (Börzel & Risse, 2009).
Unlike other big powers, who intervene in global politics with the use of force, the EU uses ethical means when interacting with its external partners to maintain world peace. The use of carrots and sticks has been identified as a reasonable method to coerce other countries to adopt EU values and norms. These values, which are considered non-violent, are: human rights, democracy, good governance, and the rule of law. The EU rewards its external partners for adopting these norms in the way of social, political, economic, and development assistance. The carrot for taking and placing these democratic values in the partners’ legislative framework can be in the form of development aid, and the stick may be in the form of the use of sanctions. The EU uses both positive and negative reinforcement to shape the external political landscape and interact with the rest of the world. For Africa and the African Union, in particular, economic assistance has been vital, since future EU membership is not an option.
The European Union’s development strategy in Africa has been instrumental in reducing poverty in many parts of the continent. The EU’s development success is recorded in areas of economic, political, social, security, peace, justice, and human development. The ability of the EU to disseminate its norms (Manners, 2002) through Africa can be credited to the continent’s historical linkages. Since the formation of the EU (previously called the European Economic Community (EEC)), relationships with African countries have been vital for the EU member states, who had previously occupied most parts of Africa. France, Belgium, and the United Kingdom were the three major colonial powers. When many of the African states gained independence, it became mandatory for these European countries to help with development and better the lives of Africans, open more trading markets for the EEC but ultimately to consolidate European influence over Africa. For some time, the EU has been regarded as an influential player in both politics and economics in Africa. Its political influence is credited to the formation of the African Union (AU), which many claim is inspired by the EU framework (Ansorg & Haastrup, 2016; Fioramonti & Mattheis, 2016; Haastrup, 2013). As a supranational organisation, the AU considered the EU as a good model for regional integration and a perfect partner for region-to-region dialogue (Ayed, 2009), making it easy for the EU and AU to negotiate trade deals collectively.
From the onset of the relationship, the EU has taken upon itself a leadership role in eradicating poverty in Africa. The 1957 Treaty of Rome set out that financial and technical support should be made available to African counterparts and other developing countries to help them develop their economies. This led to the formation of the European Development Fund, which is aimed to finance development initiatives in developing countries (Rein, 2017). Through a series of agreements, the EU has continuously highlighted the importance of equal opportunities by helping the under-privileged communities with emphasis at completely poverty reduction throughout Africa. The reduction of poverty remains one of the core principles in the European Union Global Strategy. Such an undertaking by the EU has inspired the main scope of this thesis. The research seeks to investigate if there will be any implications on EU’s poverty reduction agenda in Africa post-Brexit? since the UK is one of the most influential and biggest members states in the EU both economically and by populations. Working with other multilateral organisations like the UN and the World Bank has enabled the EU to gain legitimacy in the continent and is part of NPE. By consistently addressing poverty as the primary target, the EU received recognition as a champion for development. In 2016, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) replaced the MDGs. At the centre of the SDGs, is the desire to eradicate poverty, promote equality, provide education for all, better living conditions for all, and more.