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EPA’s: Welkome stimulans voor samenwerking of mogelijke bron voor desintegratie?

De perceptie van de Oost-Afrikaanse politieke elite

Trefwoorden European Union, EU external policy, EPAs, regional integration, external images
Auteurs Sarah Delputte
Auteursinformatie

Sarah Delputte
Sarah Delputte (1984) werkte als stagiaire bij de Europese Commissie en startte in oktober 2009 een VLIR-UOS doctoraatsonderzoek aan de Universiteit Gent naar de externe perceptie van de Europese Unie in Afrika.
  • Samenvatting

      This article addresses the controversial impact of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the European Union (EU) and its former colonies in Africa. The policy turn of the EU goes along with a sharp debate in which the EU portrays itself as a friend of the development countries while NGOs depict the Union as a wolf in sheepskin. Both sides defend strong arguments in favour and against EPAs. But how do the ACPs themselves look at the EPAs? By scrutinizing the images of ACP representatives we go beyond the polarised EPA debate. More specifically, the article deals with the question whether EPAs will stimulate or hinder regional integration in Eastern Africa. First, we summarize the diverging positions in the academic debate on this issue, structured around three dimensions: the impact of the EPA negotiation process, the consequences of implementation of these agreements, and the EU’s putative normative objectives in this area. Second, we explore each of these dimensions by analyzing the perception from Eastern African policy-makers on the basis of semi-structured interviews and a survey questionnaire. Researching the external perception of the EU’s policies provides an alternative way to gauge the possible consequences of EPAs on regional integration in Eastern Africa. The final section contains some tentative conclusions, which suggest that the view of East African diplomats is largely in line with the more ‘positive’ EU discourse, while parliamentarians make a more ‘negative’ assessment of the impact of EPAs for regional integration. In addition, members of the East African Community are more convinced of beneficial effects of EPAs on regional integration. The article ends with some explanations for these findings and some orientations for further research.

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