Karen del Biondo - February 2015 Download
The Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES), which was adopted in 2007, aimed to break with the traditional donor-recipient relationship between the EU and Africa and to develop a true partnership. The concept of partnership has been central in EU-Africa relations ever since the Lomé Agreement (1975), but many have argued that it has been eroded by conditionalities and the end of special trade preferences. Ideally, a partnership is characterized by shared values, equality and trust, but are these principles reflected in the JAES? This study investigates this question by focusing on the thematic partnerships on peace and security and democratic governance and human rights. The paper argues that, despite the power asymmetries between the EU and Africa, the JAES has been characterized by equality in decision-making and by African ownership in capacity-building. However, while the JAES may objectively be based on shared values, the EU and the AU have often differed on how to apply those values in concrete situations, more particularly on the question which type of intervention is acceptable (conditionality, military intervention, etc.). Moreover, the analysis identifies a general feeling of mistrust amongst both parties in the partnership.