The European Union, China and Africa: Trilateral security cooperation

The main security problems on the African continent include intrastate conflicts between certain groups of population over access to natural resources, intercommunity clashes, the spread of Islamic and Christian terrorism, electoral conflicts and the continuing activity of pirates in the Gulfs of Aden and Guinea. As the European Union, China and the African countries represented by the African Union expand their influence on the processes taking place in the world, they also begin to make an increasing contribution to the establishment of a new multi-polar world and to the growth of the global economy. This trend is of particular importance in relation to Africa, which until recently was considered solely as a continent that permanently experiences developmental backwardness and political instability. So far, EU member states have been the main trade, economic and political partners of African countries, as well as contributors to UN peacekeeping missions in Africa. However, China’s accent to the status of a global power and its desire to strengthen its global influence prompts Beijing to become increasingly involved in solving security problems of the African continent. In addition, China’s cooperation with African countries, previously described as “decisive non-interference in the internal affairs of partner countries while safeguarding China’s economic interests”, is undergoing a gradual shift towards Bei-jing’s involvement in peacekeeping operations in Africa. While the agreements signed by the People's Republic of China with African countries remain predominantly economic, the growing dependence of China in the implementation of its trade and economic interests on the vicissitudes of African politics and, simultaneously, on the pressure of the world community encourages Beijing to increase its activity on a global scale and leads to a revision of Chinese approaches to cooperation with this or that particular region. The participation of European countries in peacekeeping missions under the auspices of the UN has significantly decreased since the mid-1990s. Against this background, the role of developing countries, including China, in ensuring security on the African continent has increased. The expansion of security cooperation in the EU-China-Africa format is largely a European initiative. Although the extent of trilateral cooperation is still limited, primarily due to a certain discrepancy in China and the EU's approach to events in Africa, it is nevertheless gradually being established as part of peacekeeping operations, as well as the fight against piracy and terrorism. © 2019.

Федеральное государственное бюджетное учреждение "Российская академия наук"
Номер выпуска
  • 1 Institute for African Studies, RAS, Moscow, Russian Federation
  • 2 Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, Moscow, Russian Federation
  • 3 National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, Moscow, Russian Federation
Ключевые слова
Africa; China; European Union; Peacekeeping operations; Security; Trilateral cooperation
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