Jean Monnet Project ARREAR - L'Institut d'études européennes
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Mattheis’s class

Jean Monnet Project ARREAR

“A reassessment of relations between the EU and African regionalisms (ARREAR)”


Academic coordinators: Frank Mattheis and Elisa Lopez Lucia

Since September 2020, the project “A reassessment of relations between the EU and African regionalisms (ARREAR)” reinforces the IEE’s research pillar “Europe in the World”. For a period of two years, ARREAR works on shedding light on the increasing complexity of the EU-Africa relationship. The project is coordinated by Frank Mattheis and Elisa Lopez Lucia and was selected for funding by the European Commission’s Erasmus+ Jean Monnet programme.

About the project and its aims:

The project addresses the increasing complexity in the multiple overlapping and sometimes contradicting interregional layers. In recent years, African regionalism is enjoying a growing prominence in European policy-making. The African Union (AU) is capitalising on the increasing visibility and capacity of its institution, driven by the prospect of a continental free trade area and cross-border conflict management. It has become a first port of call in Africa for the leaders of the European institutions. In this context questions are surfacing regarding the relevance of the other existing frameworks governing partnerships between the European Union and African regionalisms. On one side, the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP) format and the Euro-pegged CFA Franc zone embody a colonial legacy. On the other side, the interinstitutional relations between a post-enlargement and post-Brexit EU and increasingly self-confident regional organisations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have important implications for development aid, political coalitions and security cooperation.

Acknowledging that Africa still occupies a niche in European Studies and that European Studies is still struggling to take root in Africa, the objective of the project is to bring together academics, policy makers and political observers from both regions to explore the future of EU-Africa relations in light of a changing interregional order. The main activities of the project are a series of webinars to held in May 2021 and two international workshops taking place in Brussels, scheduled for autumn 2021 and spring 2022.

Project Reference Number: 621297-EPP-1-2020-1-BE-EPPJMO-PROJECT


About the coordinators and the academics involved

Frank MATTHEIS Frank Mattheis, coordinator of the Jean Monnet Project, is a researcher at the IEE-ULB. He has a Master Degree in Global Studies and he has completed a PhD in Global Studies also, from the University of Leipzig, Germany.

Frank Mattheis works on governance structures beyond the nation state in the fields of comparative regionalism and interregionalism.

His publications and projects deal with processes of region-making/unmaking, comparative regionalism as well as North-South and South-South interregionalism.

He was previously based at the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, University of Pretoria (South Africa) as a senior researcher. Prior, he was senior research fellow at the Centre for Area Studies of the University of Leipzig (Germany), first as part of the research team on “Changing Stateness in Africa”, working on the interplay between Brazilian development models and African partners and later as a postdoctoral researcher for the project “New Regionalisms in a Changing Global Order: Mapping Latin America and Africa”.

He has taught at universities in South America, Africa, Asia and Europe and developed coursework on methods of international studies, on comparative regionalism and on African politics.

Elisa LOPEZ LUCIA Elisa Lopez Lucia, coordinator of the Jean Monnet Project, is a researcher at the Political Science Department of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and a lecturer at REPI, Department of Political Science, ULB. She is also a research associate at CEISR, University of Portsmouth and a research associate at Chaire Raoul-Dandurand, UQAM. She received her PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Warwick. 

She was previously a researcher at the University of Birmingham’s International Development Department and at the University of Warwick. She has also worked at the French Ministry of Defence and the EU’s Directorate-General for External Relations.

She is a member of the steering committee of the West African Peace and Security Network (WAPSN). Her research focuses on regional security practices in West Africa, the role of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the European Union in the Sahel region. She has an interest in the links between security policies and the construction and reconfiguration of regional spaces.

“The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi­ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.”

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