Working Paper 27
Decolonization by Europeanization? The Early EEC and the Transformation of French-African Relations
“Françafrique”, “Francophonie”, “l'état franco-africain” and “Mafiafrique” – all these terms are commonly used if one comes to talk about French-African relations after the severing of colonial ties in 1960. Even though they bear slightly different meanings, they share the notion of a very close, stable, and continuous if not to say colonially-styled relationship. According to the relevant literature, the European Economic Community (EEC) acted thereby as a stabilizing instrument. Against this backdrop, the paper tries to present new perspectives on the complex relationship between the EEC, France and its former African colonies associated to the community since 1958. The paper explores to what extent France's belonging to the EEC triggered Europeanization processes that directly affected French-African relations and eventually acted in favor of decolonization of metropolitan France. I will argue that, in the course of the 1960s, emulation of community procedures as well as supranational legal coercion to a certain extent transformed French development co-operation and trade relations with the Francophone African states and in the end fostered France's regional reconfiguration towards Europe.