The European Union as a security actor in the Sahel: policy entrapment in EU foreign policy

Plank, Friedrich / Julian Bergmann
Externe Publikationen (2021)

in: European Review of International Studies 8 (3), 382-412

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/21967415-08030006
Open access

In the past decade, the EU has significantly stepped up its profile as a security and development actor in the Sahel. Drawing on historical institutionalism, we conceptualise path-dependencies and lock-in effects as elements of a “foreign policy entrapment” spiral to analyse the EU’s policies towards the Sahel. Specifically, we seek to explain the EU’s increasingly widened and deepened engagement in the region. Hence, this article traces the evolution of the EU’s Sahel policy both in discourse and implementation. We identify a predominant security narrative as well as a regionalisation narrative and show that EU action has followed and reinforced these narratives. Based on this analysis, we argue that the evolution of the EU’s Sahel policy can be understood as a case of “foreign policy entrapment”. Initial decisions on the overall direction of EU foreign policy have created strong path-dependencies and lock-in effects that make it difficult for EU policy-makers to change the policy course.

Über den Autor

Bergmann, Julian

Politikwissenschaft

Bergmann

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