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Wednesday, 05 October 2016

Brexit: a blow to EU-Africa relations

In the flood of debate and opinion which followed the UK’s Brexit referendum, journalists and scholars alike have focused on the economic impact on Britain, the future of trade agreements and the effect on the rest of the EU. With a few exceptions, implications outside of Europe are often ignored. Africa barely gets a look in, but the shockwaves here could be deeply damaging. Clearly, the economic and aid implications matter, as we and others have pointed out. Here, however, we want to examine the socio-political and diplomatic dimensions beyond Europe of what is a seemingly European decision. This is especially important given the broad range and nature of Africa-EU relations. Both in the trade negotiations that have led to EU economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with Africa, but especially in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the UK has often played the role of an advocate, at least rhetorically. For example, although the British government always supported the controversial EPAs, it also argued that the EU should give compensation to those countries that lose out due to new modes of cooperation. Similarly, the UK has in recent years been the strongest voice for reform of the CAP. As European fisheries and farmers have been subsidised through the CAP, to the disadvantage of African farmers, reform is essential. Other European countries have been reluctant to commit to it.

Source: theconversation.com