Beyond European Conditionality and Chinese Non-Interference: Articulating the EU-China-Africa Trilateral Relations
In J. Wouters, T. de Wilde, P. Defraigne & J. C. Defraigne (Eds.), China, the European Union and Global Governance. Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, Mass.: Edward Elgar Publishing 106-121, 2012
18 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2013 Last revised: 15 Feb 2017
Date Written: September 1, 2012
In 2006, China published its first White Paper on African policy. This signaled China’s ambition to play a greater role in Africa, with influence based on its great volume of foreign aid to African countries and extensive trade and investment activities. The European Union (EU), traditionally a major actor through a variety of policy instruments, including preferential trade, economic partnership agreements and official development aid, has gradually realized that China is to be a competitor, if not a threat, in exercising influence in Africa. The competition for influence and conflicts of interest between the EU and China in Africa seem inevitable, not only over geopolitics, but also regarding human rights protection, environmental concerns and energy security issues. The worries of European politicians, academics and civil society center on China’s appetite for African resources, its human rights violations and environmental impacts. A widespread, albeit incomplete, perception is that as a result of fundamentally different values, there is a difference in approach between the EU and China: European conditionality versus Chinese non-interference. In this context, this chapter aims to compare the approaches of the EU and China toward African development policies, and to explore the feasibility of an EU–China–Africa trilateral relationship. It starts with a survey and critique of the existent regulatory frameworks and policy documents on African development policies, with an emphasis on trade preferences, economic partnership agreements and foreign aid, and looks to highlight the differences between the European and Chinese approaches. The chapter then examines the Commission communication entitled The EU, China and Africa: Towards Trilateral Dialogue and Cooperation, and explores the potential value and challenges of such a trilateral approach. A short conclusion summarizing the main findings and arguments of this chapter will be provided at the end.
Keywords: EU-China-Africa trilateral relations, African Development Policies, European conditionality, Chinese non-interference
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