Electoral Tourism, Normative Power or Instrumentalised Practice? European Union Election Observation Missions in Africa
Undergraduate Journal of Politics and International Relations
Since 1994, the European Union (EU) has participated in 142 Election Observation Missions (EOMs) and Election Expert Missions (EEMs) (EEAS, 2016 ). Yet, even though they are significant, there has been limited scholarly work on EU-EOMs. This article seeks to close this gap. By offering a comprehensive analysis, this article argues that EU-EMOs exemplify how the EU and African governments see election monitoring as an instrumentalised tool. The discussion reveals that the practice of
... tice of intrumentalisation significantly hinders norm diffusion through EU-EOMs. Introducing various subject areas, the first section illustrates how the EU's role in international relations and with it EU-EOMs are marked by the EU's dichotomous character and inherent tensions between its normative and strategic commitments. Building on these insights, the second section challenges constructivist concepts of norm diffusion. The third section projects the instrumental nature of election monitoring through the quantitative and case study analysis. This mixed methods approach aims to integrate factors that explain why actors engage with each other through EU-EOMs, notably trade, aid and legitimacy. It further scrutinises what occurs during EU-EOMs and how these interactions can lead to the internalisation of norms. The conclusion draws on the theoretical and empirical findings to discuss why the EU is unable to effectively diffuse norms through EU-EOMs and how these findings alter our understanding of election monitoring.