A Bureaucratic Bias? EU Election Observation Missions in Africa: Between Independence and Development Industry

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Series Details No.3, February 2017
Publication Date February 2017
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The EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies department of the College of Europe publishes a series of working papers dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of the European Union’s external relations and external aspects of EU internal policies. The EU Diplomacy Papers offer a platform for debate to visiting professors, staff and students as well as external contributors.The European Union is the second provider of Electoral Observation Missions (EOMs) worldwide. It is partly to the credit of ‘Normative Power Europe’ that international election monitoring has become an international norm. This paper develops a framework which conceptualises EOMs as ‘dealers of legitimacy’ in a foreign political marketplace, due to their ability to endorse or condemn (parts of) electoral processes.

This role of EOMs gives a particular importance to the question of their independence: can they be subjected to interferences, why and through which processes? While standardisation ensures a high level of neutrality throughout the span of EOMs, significant glitches make them prone to episodic interest-driven interference.

Based on secondary literature and interviews with a range of practitioners, this paper develops the argument of a ‘bureaucratic bias’ of a donor and democracy promoter, which accounts for some of the breaches of EOM independence. This bias is linked to the conditionality of development aid and the possibility of its suspension in case the government in power loses too much international legitimacy – to which a negative EOM report contributes.

Policy recommendations include a modification of the final phases of the EOM.

Source Link https://www.coleurope.eu/system/files_force/research-paper/edp_3_2017_ronceray.pdf
Related Links
EU: EEAS: Election observation missions (EUEOMs) https://eeas.europa.eu/topics/election-observation-missions-eueoms_en

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