Journal of
African Studies and Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Afr. Stud. Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2189
  • DOI: 10.5897/JASD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 229

Full Length Research Paper

“Normative Power Europe”? The European Union Democracy Promotion in Africa: A Focus on Ethiopia (Pre-April 2018)

Mitta, Gifawosen Markos
  • Mitta, Gifawosen Markos
  • Department of Governance and Development Studies, College of Social Science and Humanities, Wolkite University Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 20 January 2021
  •  Published: 31 January 2021


One of the debates regarding the EU’s role in the international relations has been what kind of an international actor the Union has been since its inception.  While, some argues that the Union has a realist approach, authors like Ian Manners see the EU as a ‘normative power’, which is more of an idealist approach in the international relations. The latter conception has brought a lot of attention towards the study of EU’s relations with the rest of the world; particularly, the developing countries in Sub Saharan Africa. In an attempt to navigate such debate, basically by examining the case of the EU and Ethiopian relationship, this article attempt to reveal the narrative of labeling the EU as a ‘Normative Power’ and democracy promoter is just an idiom. The article suggests that the strategic importance of Ethiopia to the EU, in the fight towards terrorism, peacekeeping, and managing migration in the region of the Horn of Africa has affected the EU’s commitment towards diffusing the alleged normative values in the country. Thus, this article divulges that the EU’s security interest overshadows the promotion of its democratic values and norms in Ethiopia.


Key words:  Normative power, Neo-realism, Cotonou agreement, Ethiopia.