1. Should Europe follow suit and drop its conditionalities so as to better compete with China in Africa?
Europe should not drop its conditionalities for competition with China in Africa.
Europe’s conditionalities include democracy, free elections, human rights, gender equality are implemented as part of the compromise in the “Economic Partnership Agreements” (EPAs). Democratic Governance and Human rights were further mentioned again in the Joint Africa-EU Strategy adopted by Heads of State and government from Africa and Europe at the Lisbon Summit in December 2007. By putting these terms into trade agreements proves the European countries had made these their core values. Before analysing whether the European countries to drop the values, we first need to examine why these values are implemented to the African countries.
Firstly, these conditionalities are basis of European values: democratic political systems and the foundation of European powers and their histories. If lifting these terms in the economic corporation means abandoning of their European identity, which usually as said the civilization power of the west as written in The Maastricht treaty. Secondly, the imposition of Human Rights are often due to domestic public pressure. Prime Minister Gordon Brown of England refused to attend the Euro-African summit in Lisbon last weekend because President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe would be in attendance. (BBC, 2008) The third reason is European’s colonial legacy provided superior feelings and the responsibility for European nations to educate the African countries, which provided a favourable background for China who in absence of colonial link with Africa. Implementing the conditionalities paved a way for European countries to make redemption by their ‘shame culture’. The fourth point for European to insist on keeping these conditionalities is highly diplomatic, under the term of ‘Constructive Pressure’ and pointing the spear to China, because Human Right is the last card EU can play and to shame China. Lastly, imposing the conditionality to force African countries adopt the human right and democratic development also favoured economic interest of European countries. Democracy and human rights were rather perceived as the pre-conditions for development (Grimm 2003).
Keeping the conditionalities on Human right and democracy is also beneficial for European countries, enabling EU to speak equally with China. European countries can use democracy, human rights and equality to work against the ‘Beijing Model’. One role for EU to perform is a conscious role-play between the member states and other countries such as “…in the case of EU relations with Russia and China, where the European level was used to put human rights pressure on those countries, while member states focused on developing commercial cooperation” (Hanns Maull 2005, P.792). The statement is further consolidated by China’s conditionality of aid especially insignificant amount of aid...