Unite and Conquer
Abstract: In 2007 the preferential trading agreements between the EUs and its former colonies elapsed. The need for the new Economical Partnership Agreement had been known for long and the new agreements were claimed to have a larger development element and aimed to stimulate regional integration in the African communities. Making African states negotiate in Regional Economic Communities to reach region-wide agreement proved to be difficult for two reasons; the stressed time frame and the highly ambitious agenda the EU was pushing. The pressure to negotiate on a regional level where the RECs lacked sufficient institutions and super-national bodies with a mandate to negotiate on behalf of the states led to varying results. The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, with a tradition of cooperation fell apart as a negotiating party, the East African Community, EAC, concluded a joint interim-EPA although having a short and shallow history of integration. With a starting point in these different approaches my aim is to investigate whether it is possible to create regional integration through external pressure they way the EU intended the EPAs to do. To study the integrative development in the RECs the thesis takes a stand in the System of Indicators for Regional Integration developed by De Lombaerde and Van Langenhove. The method used for the study is a qualitative textual analysis of texts foremost produced by academic scholars and stakeholders. Consequently this means that the main question is to study if there has been a shift in how the EPAs are perceived in the literature. My result shows that there seems to be an increasing opinion in favour of including national stakeholders and that de facto integration is a matter of time and work within the RECs rather than a result of the EUs assertive push for integration.
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