Security as Change? An Institutional View of Contemporary EU-Africa Relations
Haastrup, Adetoun Antoinette Adeola
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Increased regional integration in Europe, Africa and Asia is a defining feature of the 21st century. This increase has been followed by the growth of region-to-region collaboration (inter-regionalism) as a means of international cooperation. In the past, EU-Africa relations mainly served as a medium for economic cooperation however, this is now changing with the inclusion of security cooperation in EU-Africa relations. This new relationship was explicitly outlined in the 2007 Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES). Within the new relationship, security cooperation through inter-regionalism is founded on the principles of equality, partnership and ownership. Despite these shifts, academic research has not caught up to examining the reasons and implications of security through inter-regionalism. The thesis therefore explores the extent to which security cooperation has contributed to changes in contemporary EUAfrica relations. In this context, the thesis specifically evaluates security cooperation between the EU and Africa primarily through the African Union (AU). The thesis develops institutionalised interregionalism as a framework through which this new type of international cooperation is best understood. It assesses two cases of EU support for new security initiatives in Africa. The first case study examines the efforts to create functional battle ready groups for peace missions. The second case study evaluates the European Union’s commitment to small arms control initiatives through the African Union. It does this by applying the historical institutionalism theoretical approach to the empirical concept of inter-regionalism. The thesis uses a multi-method qualitative approach including elite interviewing, non-participant observation, documentary and narrative analysis.The thesis finds that while the inter-regionalisation of security cooperation constitutes a shift in EU-Africa relations, changes to the institution are more likely when the EU is internally coherent, coordinated and employs a division of labour model to implement its support for the African Peace and Security Architecture. The lack of division of labour among EU actors has been impeded by lack of political will on the part of EU Member States as well as a ‘turf war’ or competition between the European Commission and Member States. The competition within the EU has been particularly detrimental to a region-to-region approach in EU-Africa relations. The lack of a single or streamlined approach undermined some of the AfricanUnion’s peace and security aims. In addition, the limited capabilities of the African Union, has negative implications for the implementation processes of the peace and security cooperation as it undermines the aspirations of ownership and partnership. This research thesis makes a substantive contribution to the literature on EU external relations generating new insights into the changing nature of international cooperation based on regionalism. It moves beyond the discourses on EU challenges in achieving common positions on security matters. Rather, it focuses on challenges (and opportunities) occurring in EU external relations despite the common positions. Additionally, it contributes to the debates in EU-Africa relations beyond the development focus of the literature to consider insights from the empirical reality of security cooperation. Finally, the thesis contributes to the burgeoning literature on burden sharing in international security through division of labour among international actors. The thesis is therefore relevant to current trends in the study and practice of international relations.