China’s rise in Africa and the response of the EU: a theoretical analysis of the EU-China-Africa trilateral cooperation policy initiative

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Series Details Volume 40, Number 4, Pages 443-460
Publication Date May 2018
ISSN 0703-6337 (print) | 1477-2280 (online)
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This article explores and explains the drivers of the EU-China-Africa trilateral cooperation initiative. In order to do so a qualitative assessment was made of how well the various hypotheses flowing from three candidate theories neorealism, institutionalism and the bureaucratic politics model (BPM) fit this policy initiative. It specifically tests them across three distinct stages of the policy cycle, including issue identification, decision-making and policy implementation. Cutting the dependent variable into policy stages allows us to see if the independent variables truly are powerful.

This study demonstrates that institutionalism contributes to a better understanding of every distinct stage of the policy process regarding the EU-China-Africa trilateral cooperation initiative. Aspects of neorealism illuminate some stages of the policy process as well, while BPM is only applicable to a limited degree.

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The EU, Africa and China: Towards trilateral dialogue and cooperation

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