The European Union (EU) is the most relevant partner of the UN and of African regional organizations in peacekeeping operations in the African continent. Since 2003, it has carried out Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFPS) operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Chad, Central Africa Republic, Somalia and Guinea. It is a key supporter of the African Union (AU)’s security policy, providing funding for peace and development initiatives through the African Peace Facility. The European Commission and the EU member states are notably the major donors in Africa, where they provide more than half of the total international official aid. They also are key partners of the international financial institutions in the promotion of good governance, human rights and democracy in the continent.
At the same time, though, the EU is increasingly facing competition for influence on Africa, coming from East. China is the major actor in Africa that may be listed in the group of “emerging donors”. It has also become an actor in peace operations in Africa, participating in UN missions. As of May 2007, 1800 Chinese troops were participating in peacekeeping operations in Africa in Liberia, Sudan and the Democratic republic of Congo. Moreover in the last decade China has increased its diplomatic presence in Africa, increasing its political dialogue with African states and regional organizations.
Despite these similarities, the two actors are promoting alternative models of peacekeeping in Africa. While the European model is based on the promotion of sovereignty pooling and on the idea that human rights and good governance are preconditions for peace, the Chinese model is based on the principle of equality among sovereign states and on the idea that economic development is a precondition for peace. European leaders tend to underline their ability to export the EU’s model of peacekeeping through integration beyond its borders. At the same time, Chinese leaders are increasingly committed to show the soft power of China on developing countries. In other words, the two actors are competing to attract support of African leaders.
This paper investigates on the way representatives of African regional organizations and of African states react to EU and Chinese peacekeeping policies. It investigates on the way the norms promoted by the EU and China are interpreted and re-elaborated in the African context.
Download here the full version of this paper written by Daniela Sicurelli and presented at the Fifth Pan-European Conference on EU Politics, held from the 23rd to the 26th of June 2010 in Porto (Portugal).