The EU and Africa: a helping hand or self-interest?

What are the motives of the European Union for strengthening its ties with Africa? Leiden political scientist Abdurrahim Siradag shows that economic interests play a major role. Worldwide developments also influence the EU's foreign policy. PhD defence 19 December.

Money or peace operations

Siradag conducted research on a Strategic Security Partnership (SSP) between the European Union and Africa. The EU has paid extra attention to security since 2000, following the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Siradag wants to show the driving forces behind the co-operation with Africa, and argues that economic interests play a significant role.  But new worldwide threats, such as immigration, climate change, international terrorism and conflicts are also important. Added to this, there are also new international players, such as China and the US, that are increasing their presence in Africa. The change in the EU's foreign policy is visible in the way in which the EU is becoming involved with Africa. Before 2000, the EU provided mainly financial support, whereas since the new millennium the EU has played an increasingly active role in conflict management, with peace operations in different African countries.  


Motives

Siradag's PhD research demonstrates aspects of the security relation between the EU and Africa that have never previously been studied. He mentions four motives for a Strategic Security Partnership between the EU and Africa.  Firstly the EU uses the SSP to protect its political and economic contacts with Africa. The second reason is a consequence of this. In order to prevent any damage to these interests, the EU tries to contribute actively top peace and security. It seems as the EU also wants to address the issues of international terrorism and immigration problems. The third reason is the expansion of the EU to include a further 10 European states in 2004, so that the EU is forces to take greater responsibility in the world. And finally, a number of EU countries foster their historical relations with African countries, while at the same time bearing in mind their own interests. This historical factor should not be neglected.  

Perspectives for the future

According to Siradag a Strategic Security Partnership between Africa and the EU is possible and even desirable. But both parties have to arrive at a system whereby Africa is less dependent. Members of the African Union should set up a joint system of funding to support peace operations within the content, without external aid. Furthermore, the members should strengthen the collaboration within the African Union. Weak and ineffective African organisations are doomed to remain passive in world politics and will be unable to resolve their own security problems.

(18 December 2012)

PhD defence

Abdurrahim Sıradağ - Causes, Rationales and Dynamics: Exploring the Strategic Security Partnership between the European Union and Africa

Date Wednesday 19 December 2012
Time 12:30 hrs
Faculty Social and Behavioural Sciences
Location Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


Supervisor: Prof.dr. M.O. Hosli

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Last Modified: 21-12-2012