Critical perspectives on Africa's relationship with the European Union

Authored by: Toni Haastrup

The Routledge Handbook of Critical European Studies

Print publication date:  December  2020
Online publication date:  December  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138589919
eBook ISBN: 9780429491306
Adobe ISBN:


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The European Union (EU) has significantly evolved from an initial alliance of expedience – a coal and steel alliance formulated to bind its core members together so they avoid war – into a strong socio-economic partnership of independent countries. Together, its member states and institutions constitute one of the most powerful political entity in the world. Given its initial motivations, the history of the EU as a foreign policy actor is quite minimal. It is almost received knowledge that EU foreign policy is mainly traced back to the 1992 Maastricht Treaty and the establishment of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) pillar. Yet, taken from the perspective of African countries for example, foreign policy practices were inscribed into the EU's integration project right from the Treaty of Rome in 1957. Given this, the EU's relationship with the African continent as a whole, both in terms of its practice, and in terms of its absence in the narrative history of the EU as a Foreign Policy actor is important for a truly critical engagement with the EU's external relations.

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