European Integration and Enlargement

[ GO-EuroMed ]

[ MPSG ]

[ Ph.D Mark Furness ]

[ Ezoneplus ]

[ YouREC ]

The European Union’s regional security agenda in the Middle East and North Africa

Brief Information
Corresponding Researcher Mark Furness
Type of Project Ph. D
Status ongoing
Duration 3 years
Completed 2008

European policymakers have long been concerned by political-military conflicts and crises in the MENA, and over the years several initiatives aimed at easing tension and providing a forum for discussion have been launched. But the EU has been unable to make the impact it would have expected in resolving ongoing regional conflicts. Several commentators on EU foreign policy and EU-Mediterranean policy have advanced explanations for the EU's unenviable record. Some criticise the EU for pursuing European and member state interests without regard for MENA preferences (Soltan 2004), or for reluctance to include MENA countries as equal partners (Biscop 2003). Other commentators have been critical of autocratic MENA governments for refusing to cooperate with the EU because to do so might undermine their grip on power (Heller 2003). More strident critiques consider the EU's insistence on democratic reform counterproductive (Youngs 2006), while others believe that the EU is attempting to use its experience in conflict resolution without regard for the special conditions present in the Middle East (Steinberg 2004). This thesis will attempt to build on this scholarship by developing a typological theory of regional security cooperation (Bennett and George 1997). This work is based on the positivist assumption that actors will cooperate in creating institutions when the benefits exceed the costs of doing so. The aim is to develop this theory by examining hypotheses generated by international relations theories and comparing these for logic and consistency. Finally, the thesis will attempt to compare a regional security typology with the EU's foreign and security policy model for the MENA region.