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Transformative power or roadblock to change - The European Union and its policies in Central America

Grant number: 15/06849-3
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): August 10, 2015
Effective date (End): February 09, 2016
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science - International Politics
Principal researcher:Kai Enno Lehmann
Grantee:Kai Enno Lehmann
Host: Sabine Kurtenbach
Home Institution: Instituto de Relações Internacionais (IRI). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Germany  

Abstract

For the European Union, the Central American peace accords of the 1980s are one of its main success stories and one of the key drivers behind its strategy to export 'model Europe' around the world as a way of resolving regional conflicts outside its immediate neighborhood. Yet, despite considerable financial and political investment, the EU has found it impossible to turn Central American countries into viable, prosperous, secure and democratic states. Nowhere is this more obvious than in Honduras, the world's most dangerous country outside warzones, as well as one of its poorest and most corrupt. Using Honduras as a case study, the project will be asking why the EU has not been able to use its 'model Europe' to turn Central America into a region of viable states. The main hypothesis to be tested is that the EU's policies in Central America are destined not to achieve their objectives since they do not match the complexity of the problems encountered. The project will put forward an alternative approach - Human Systems Dynamics, based on the conceptual tools of Complexity - through which it will reinterpret the problems of Central America and make concrete suggestions on how to confront them. Bearing in mind that many of these problems - like weak governance, the drugs trade, violence etc. - both exist in - and have an impact upon- South America, the suggested project is highly relevant for both analysts and policy-makers in this region as well.

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