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Values and Interests in Response to Coups

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Despite the EU’s aim to stabilise the Sahel, the political and security situation in the region has deteriorated amid the current wave of coups. Research on coups has singled out the centrality of militaries combined with weakened anti-coup norms as the major force behind military interventions. This suggests that while training security forces may be necessary to combat armed non-state actors in the region, these efforts need to be balanced by more investment in strengthening other state institutions and governance standards more broadly to produce a stable civil-military balance.

Of the EU’s 40 past and ongoing CSDP missions, 23 have taken place in Africa. With 12 of these missions currently under way on the continent, the recent wave of coups is something the EU needs to deal with. As coups are by definition attacks on democracy and threats to the rule of law, two values that the EU as a normative power endorses, the tension between the union’s interests and its norms becomes palpable when coups occur. So far, the EU has inconsistently promoted its norms while in practice favouring its values.


The rest of this article can be found in ‘Crafting an EU Strategy for Coups’ on the European Democracy Hub website.


(Photo credit:  Wikimedia Commons)