chapter  2
Europe’s colonial history
The problem of the ‘other’
Pages 28

In considering the current relations between the EU and the countries of the South, it is impossible to avoid noticing that these are still largely based on the ties established during the colonial period. France has close links with its francophone former colonies; the UK has developed its relations with former colonies within the fifty-member Commonwealth, and Belgium, Italy, Spain and Portugal similarly maintain special interest in their previous dependencies. In fact, because post-war relations between Europe and its former dependencies still resemble those of the nineteenthcentury era of colonialism they are often termed ‘neo-colonial’. Thus, in order to understand the contemporary pattern of trade, aid and political links between Europe and the South, the colonial period is an almost inescapable starting point for students and scholars.