The European Union has been one of the most vocal advocates of ‘sustainable development’, particularly in its dealings with developing countries. Even prior to the formulation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the EU has insisted upon the need for sustainable approaches to poverty reduction and economic growth in the Global South. When examining EU relations with African countries as part of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group, however, it becomes clear that the translation of Europe’s sustainability discourse into practice is highly problematic. Notably, there are concerns that the EU’s free market approach to development – embodied in its EPA trade deals – is incompatible with genuine, pro-poor forms of sustainable growth. Moreover, the EU is often seen as a hegemonic actor whose trade and aid interventions in Africa often do more to perpetuate poverty than to ameliorate it. This book casts a critical light on Africa-EU relations with regards to the EU’s sustainability pledges. It does this through looking at an array of issues – not least trade, aid, the environment, and democratic institutions. In this vein, the book poses a challenge to EU trade and development discourse in the era of the UN SDGs.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue in Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal.
1. Introduction: The EU and ‘pro-poor’ contributions to sustainable development in the post-2015 consensus Mark Langan & Sophia Price 2. Framing the climate-development nexus in the European Union Frederik De Roeck, Sarah Delputte & Jan Orbie 3. Managing neo-liberalisation through the Sustainable Development Agenda: the EU-ACP trade relationship and world market expansion Sophia Price & Alex Nunn 4. Regional encounters: explaining the divergent responses to the EU’s support for regional integration in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific Tony Heron & Peg Murray-Evans 5. Equal partnership between unequal regions? Assessing deliberative parliamentary debate in ACP-EU relations Sarah Delputte & Yentyl Williams 6. Feigned ambition. Analysing the emergence, evolution and performance of the ACP Group of States Niels Keijzer 7. Promoting sustainable development or legitimising free trade? Civil society mechanisms in EU trade agreements Jan Orbie, Deborah Martens, Myriam Oehri & Lore Van den Putte 8. The EU’s Economic Partnership Agreements with Africa: ‘Decent Work’ and the challenge of trade union solidarity Stephen R. Hurt 9. Oil and cocoa in the political economy of Ghana-EU relations: whither sustainable development? Mark Langan & Sophia Price