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Images of the EU in EPA negotiations: Angel, demon - or just human?

Elgström, Ole LU (2008) In European Integration Online Papers 12(5). p.1-12
Abstract
A striking feature of the discourses surrounding the negotiations of Economic Partnership Agreements between the EU and developing states is the starkly contrasting pictures given of the role and nature of the EU. The Union is either portrayed as an angel, an actor with altruistic objectives, concerned primarily with the economic and social development of the ACP countries, or as a demon, an actor driven by self-interest with an hidden agenda and using confrontational tactics. The first image is mainly held by Commission officials, the second by NGO representatives. In this article, I establish the existence of the two contrasting images, try to explain theoretically the nature of the debate by reference to cognitive theory, and discuss... (More)
A striking feature of the discourses surrounding the negotiations of Economic Partnership Agreements between the EU and developing states is the starkly contrasting pictures given of the role and nature of the EU. The Union is either portrayed as an angel, an actor with altruistic objectives, concerned primarily with the economic and social development of the ACP countries, or as a demon, an actor driven by self-interest with an hidden agenda and using confrontational tactics. The first image is mainly held by Commission officials, the second by NGO representatives. In this article, I establish the existence of the two contrasting images, try to explain theoretically the nature of the debate by reference to cognitive theory, and discuss the potential consequences of constructing and utilizing black-and-white images. I argue that the EU risked being caught in rhetorical traps by describing itself in overly altruistic terms, thereby giving its counterparts argumentative advantages. NGOs, on the other hand, lost some of their possibilities of influencing EU policy by taking a totally confrontational stance. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
trade, policy, lobbying, European Commission, civil society, development policy
in
European Integration Online Papers
volume
12
issue
5
pages
1 - 12
publisher
ECSA Austria
external identifiers
  • wos:000263241700001
  • scopus:76649093918
ISSN
1027-5193
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
fc58340b-8dbb-415e-a7d5-9aac143f2d72 (old id 1375615)
date added to LUP
2009-05-08 14:31:24
date last changed
2017-11-12 03:39:42
@article{fc58340b-8dbb-415e-a7d5-9aac143f2d72,
  abstract     = {A striking feature of the discourses surrounding the negotiations of Economic Partnership Agreements between the EU and developing states is the starkly contrasting pictures given of the role and nature of the EU. The Union is either portrayed as an angel, an actor with altruistic objectives, concerned primarily with the economic and social development of the ACP countries, or as a demon, an actor driven by self-interest with an hidden agenda and using confrontational tactics. The first image is mainly held by Commission officials, the second by NGO representatives. In this article, I establish the existence of the two contrasting images, try to explain theoretically the nature of the debate by reference to cognitive theory, and discuss the potential consequences of constructing and utilizing black-and-white images. I argue that the EU risked being caught in rhetorical traps by describing itself in overly altruistic terms, thereby giving its counterparts argumentative advantages. NGOs, on the other hand, lost some of their possibilities of influencing EU policy by taking a totally confrontational stance.},
  author       = {Elgström, Ole},
  issn         = {1027-5193},
  keyword      = {trade,policy,lobbying,European Commission,civil society,development policy},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {1--12},
  publisher    = {ECSA Austria},
  series       = {European Integration Online Papers},
  title        = {Images of the EU in EPA negotiations: Angel, demon - or just human?},
  volume       = {12},
  year         = {2008},
}