The emerging strategic partnership between the European Union and the African Union

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Rein, Conrad
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University College Cork
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Many among the emerging generation of political elites in Africa see the role the European Union (EU) plays in the maintenance of an unprecedented period of peace in Western Europe as an inspirational example of the manner in which the African Union (AU) can contribute to peace and stability in Africa. This doctoral thesis examines security cooperation between the EU and the AU, with a particular focus on the nature and substance of that cooperation. It suggests that despite the establishment of various EU–AU institutions and ties with a role in security policy and cooperation, such security cooperation is limited in substance. This study argues that EU–AU security cooperation is especially constrained by the emergence of alternative partners, most notably China, and by failures of implementation and follow-through. Two case studies, the first dealing with EU–AU cooperation in peacekeeping, and the second addressing the silent water crisis along with the link between water and security, have been analysed in detail to determine the effectiveness and sustainability of the EU–AU partnership. A number of important lessons for regionalism, interregionalism and multilateralism are drawn from the bond between the EU and the AU. This doctoral thesis will prove that, despite an emphasis on the problematic term ‘strategic’ by both EU and AU policymakers, EU–AU cooperation is limited and somewhat lacking in strategic direction. The cooperation between the EU and the AU focuses mainly on EU financial support for AU peacekeeping and specific projects in Africa (e.g. in the water sector), as well as on a limited political dialogue. Nonetheless, the EU–AU link represents the most comprehensive partnership the AU has with any non-African actor. This study will furthermore demonstrate that the United Nations (UN) is an indispensable third-party to their relationship and it is therefore more appropriate to speak of the AU–EU–UN nexus. This doctoral thesis concludes that the AU–EU–UN nexus is an important example of interregionalism in a global context and that such interregionalism is an important emerging part of global governance.
African Union , European Union , United Nations , Regionalism , Interregionalism , Multilateralism , Peacekeeping in Africa , Water and Security in Africa , Strategic partnership
Rein, C. 2014. The emerging strategic partnership between the European Union and the African Union. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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