We are pleased to alert you to ISS working paper 713, titled The inconsistency of EU sanctions in Sub-Saharan Africa. Hypocrisy or careful policy making? A systematic literature review, by Nina M. Brehl.
The EU is a frequent sender of sanctions. Yet, according to some voices the EU is too selective with this tool and inconsistent in its foreign policy stance. Scholars have discussed reasons for the inconsistent application of sanctions primarily in thematic silos, leading to two main positions where the EU is either viewed as a normative or realist foreign policy actor. Whilst it is argued that Sub-Saharan Africa is a frequent target for EU sanctions due its low economic and political importance there are also substantial inconsistencies in sanction application within the region.
To investigate the issue two contributions are made. First, I compare five databases for congruency and variables covered. I find substantial differences in coverage of EU sanction cases with a maximum of 77% congruency. Moreover, all databases fail to cover non-cases, which makes and econometric analysis of inconsistency at best incomplete. Given that a quantitative analysis is not possible I resort to a systematic literature review of sources published between 2000 and 2021. From three databases 179 sources are identified and screened, resulting in 11 sources relevant to the research question. I find seven factors that influence the EU’s decision to impose a sanction in Sub-Saharan Africa: the EU’s economic, historical, and strategic interest, the target countries’ development performance, the expected effectiveness, and effects of sanctions as well as regional and domestic pressure. While this proves that inconsistency can not only be explained with realist arguments it remains unclear to what extent each of the identified factors plays into the decision to impose a sanction. More research in terms of width and depth is needed to understand what motivates the EU to (not) impose a sanction.
Sanctions, international norms, EU foreign policy.
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