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Mental maps matter. By looking at France’s decision to launch a military operation in Mali in January 2013, this article decrypts the complex compound of decision-makers’ mental maps focusing in particular on the geographic image of Eurafrique. When justifying the military intervention in one of their country’s former colonies, French decision-makers framed the Malian crisis as an imminent threat to the European continent, emphasising geographical vicinity and the close ties between Africa and Europe. These arguments mirror the concept of Eurafrique, a spatial construction that stresses the complementary and interdependence between the two continents. This article reintroduces the notion of Eurafrique as a frame for analysing the present-day French security discourse towards the African continent in general and towards France’s former colonies in particular. The argument joins the debate on the use of mental maps in the field of foreign policy analysis (FPA). The findings show that the notion considerably influenced French decision-makers’ perception of the crisis in Mali, but also points to the narrative’s limited reach as its success is dependent not only on the transmitter but also on the recipients.

In: European Review of International Studies

Relations between Africa and Europe continued to experience considerable challenges, with an October ministerial meeting in Kigali being the first formal meeting since the start of the pandemic. While an EU travel ban introduced in December on South-African states harmed relations, the EU also announced its Global Gateway initiative to ramp up investment in infrastructure with a key focus on Africa. The security partnership between the two regions faced challenges, particularly the EU's military engagement in Mali. Simultaneously, the EU completed key legal frameworks to guide its external action spending in Africa during the full seven-year budget cycle from 2021 to 2027.

In: Africa Yearbook Volume 18
In: Africa Yearbook Volume 17
In: Africa Yearbook Volume 16
In: Africa Yearbook Volume 16