Bait and switch: the European Union’s incoherency towards Africa

Ian Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The European Union’s (EU’s) relations with Africa remain dominated by notions of partnerships via development cooperation and inconsistencies regarding economic dealings that often exert powerfully negative images of the EU as a collective unit that gives with one hand but takes back with the other. The hegemony of neoliberalism within the EU serves the broad interests of outwardly orientated fractions of the EU’s ruling elites, and navigating the tensions that this creates in any consistent set of development policies remains a key challenge to the EU–Africa relationship, particularly when these same actors practice de facto mercantilism in certain areas of policy whilst proclaiming their commitment to liberalisation. Such hypocrisy invites scorn and resentment within Africa. Handicapped by the divergent interests of its various members, the question remains whether the EU can move from individual action to a genuinely common set of policies towards the continent—beyond the rhetoric.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-111
Number of pages16
JournalInsight on Africa
Issue number2
Early online date9 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Africa
  • EU
  • Trade
  • Economic policy
  • Liberalisation


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