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The Politics and Law of the EU Value-Promotion through Trade: the Case of the EU’s Economic Partnership Agreements in the ACP region

Maryna Rabinovych

The unprecedented support for far-right parties across the Union, the rule of law crises in Poland and Hungary and Member States’ conflicting views over migration policies testify to the profound axiological crisis in the Union and, thus, challenge its normative power. With regard to the EU’s development policy in the ACP, the above issue is aggravated by the ever strengthening Chinese investment and aid policies in the region that, foremost, pose an obstacle to the EU’s political conditionality. In this view, the paper seeks to address the political prerequisites and specific legal instruments of the EU’s promotion of fundamental values through the Economic Partnership Agreements. The paper is based on the analysis of the EU’s EPAs with the Eastern African Community, CARIFORUM and the Pacific states. The theoretical framework of the paper is constituted by the normative and market power Europe concepts and major development economics theories (e.g., the modernization theory, governance and new constitutionalism). The analysis reveals the “added value” of the EPAs with respect to the EU’s value-promotion and argues in favour of strengthening the nexus between political development and trade in the EU’s policy towards the ACP region as a response to China’s growing engagement in the region.

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