Public Perception of the EU in Global South

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The pronounced focus by the EU foreign policy institutions on development, trade, and good governance, what realists call soft issues, has rightfully gained the EU a label as a normative foreign policy actor. Yet, with few exceptions, there is little research on how outsiders, particularly the citizens of underdeveloped and developing countries, perceive this normative foreign policy. In this research project I investigate the effect of foreign aid donated by the EU in driving positive attitudes toward the EU in the aid-recipient non-member countries. More specifically, I scrutinize the effects of two sets independent variables: One, the total volumes of bilateral and multilateral ODA the EU provides to the respondent’s country; second, the aid allocated in different sectors with higher and lower levels of visibility. For the empirical analysis, I employ cross-sectional survey data acquired from Pew Global Attitudes Surveys covering a sample of 32 non-EU countries and 10 waves spanning 2007 to 2017 and analyze them using multilevel regression models. The tentative conclusion is that bilateral rather than multilateral aid, and aid allocated to the health and education sectors, drive more favorable attitudes, whereas aid directed at trade and tourism and emergency situations rouse more negative individual attitudes toward the EU in recipient countries.

Keywords:EU, Official Development Assistance, Perception, Public Opinion.

Osman Sabri Kıratlı | Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey

Dr. Osman Sabri Kiratli is an associate professor in the International Trade Department at Bogaziçi University, Istanbul. Originally trained in Political Science, he holds MA and PhD degrees from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, awarded in 2007 and 2012 respectively. His research areas include public opinion on foreign policy, European integration, EU Foreign Policy, and International Political Economy. Kiratli has publications in various top-ranked political science journals such as JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, Party Politics, European Union Politics, Political Studies, and European Political Science among others.