Chair: Adérito Vicente

Discussants: Iakovos Iakovidis & Ester Sigillò

Panel 2

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The EU and Iranian Trade Relationship: How Their Bilateral Trade Agreements Lead To Changes in Nuclear Nonproliferation


Meaghan Boyle, James Madison University

The last decade has represented a turning point in nuclear nonproliferation within the international community. The creation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has bound actors to respect international agreements and uses trade and economic sanctions as a guiding principle. This paper argues that the threat of nuclear energy (and/or acquiring nuclear weapons) in Iran decreased 7 if trade between the European Union and Iran increases. This paper considers the primary sources on trade statistics seen between the EU and Iran as well as the scholarly work that has been written about the complexities of this trade relationship. The findings of this paper will contribute to the evolving discussion of the effects of trade on nonproliferation and the role of the EU in a global setting. It will also give increased understanding to the evolution of the bilateral trade agreements between the EU and Iran and how there have been a multitude of economic benefits to all countries involved. The evidence in this paper suggests the hypothesis to be true and there is an inverse relationship between trade and nonproliferation. However, more research is required to reach a complete explanation for why the trade relationships between the EU and Iran effects nonproliferation.

China at Europe's Southern Doorstep: Will China's Belt and Road Initiatives Change the Democratic Landscape that the EU Has Been Developing in Africa?


Bryan Eagle, James Madison University

This paper explores the relationships that China maintains with states in and around the Horn of Africa region. In these relationships, China’s new global project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is used to understand the social, political, and economic outcome of countries that opt to partner with the Asian power. Using Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda as separate case studies, the positives and negatives of cooperation become easier understand. The results vary, as the political and economic stability varies in each country, as does cooperation with China predates the BRI’s 2013 start date. The results present that of the possible benefits as China offers a reasonable and attractive alternative to the aid and agreements posited by liberal democracies. Yet, while China offers economic growth and limited security, it finds difficulty in appealing to the locals and workers. Hence, this paper shows that China’s overall approach is self-centered and economic driven, which opposes the priorities that the European Union has been attempting establish with its southern neighbors. However, while the Chinese do not export authoritarian practices or self-interest in its partners, it does little to reinforce the democratic institutions in Africa. Instead the BRI seems like a political tool in proving that economic development and political stability are independent of democratic strength.

The European Union’s Relationship with Latin America: Is it Mutually Beneficial?

John Goulette, James Madison University

Europe has been attached to Latin America since Christopher Columbus arrived in the fifteenth century. Since then, Latin America has witnessed multiple independence movements, which has seen European powers thrown out of their former colonies. This is specifically the case with Spain and Portugal. The two European countries have been connected to their former colonies because of their shared language and culture. Therefore, even though they are small players in European Union standards, they do contribute quite a bit to Latin American relations. Portugal also sees a lot of investment coming from its former colony, Brazil. This relationship shows that it is not just the European Union who can benefit from this transatlantic partnership, but Latin American countries as well. While the United States is Latin America’s largest trade partner, their role is continuing to decrease as it focuses elsewhere in the world. This is because the US is implementing more protectionist policies under the Trump Presidency. This development has led others to try to fill that void, including the European Union. The European Union has already attempted to fill this void, specifically with the MERCUSOR nations, whom why have just recently made a new trade agreement with. This development could lead to further agreements throughout Latin America. While it is hard to determine how much a country benefits from trading with the EU, it is the more developed nations (like the MERCUSOR bloc) who seem to benefit more, due to them exporting more finished goods instead of raw goods (like most of Latin America). Therefore, while the EU benefits significantly 8 from trading with Latin America, and many Latin American countries have the same benefits from trading with the EU, specifically Brazil and Mexico.

Turkish Accession to the EU: What Has Prevented it?

Elijah Knopp, James Madison University

The foundations of the relationship between the European Union (EU) and Turkey dates back several decades, far before the EU was established. The European Economic Community (EEC), which would later evolve into the modern-day EU, was the first European community that Turkey had formal relations with. Since the beginning of the relationship, the EU-Turkey dynamic has changed several times, going through periods of ups and downs and all kinds of stages, reflecting characteristics of human relationships. Nevertheless, Turkey has managed to keep close relations with Europe, despite never becoming an official member of the EU. The Turks first filed their application to the community in 1987. However, they remain outside of the union as of 2020, constituting a 33- year application, the longest of its kind. Considering the lengthy history of the two bodies, this raises several questions. Why is Turkey such a unique case? What has prevented Turkey from joining? Will Turkey ever formally join the European Union, or will it continue in a state of limbo until the relationship reaches a breaking point? Each of these questions are discussed in detail in this paper.