Performing EU agency by experimenting the ‘Comprehensive Approach’: the European Union Sahel Strategy
Elisa LOPEZ LUCIA (2017): Performing EU agency by experimenting the ‘Comprehensive Approach’: the European Union Sahel Strategy, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, DOI: 10.1080/02589001.2017.1338831
Abstract : This article examines how the European Union (EU) Strategy for security and development in the Sahel has been used as a ‘laboratory of experimentation’ for the implementation of the Comprehensive Approach. In this context, it looks at how power struggles at the discursive and praxis levels are performing the international agency of the EU. These struggles are played out by EU officials based in different institutions who are seeking to assert their role in the EU foreign policy process and to promote their vision for the EU in the world. The attempt to re-define the EU as a strategic actor which lies at the heart of the Comprehensive Approach is also transforming the EU’s relations with West Africa (WA) and raises some issues that concern the political agency of West African partners. The last section shows that the Sahel Strategy has undermined local ownership and has the potential to cripple the process of regional integration in WA.