Abstract Brtnický 2011

The Arab Revolts: an Impetus towards Reassessment of the European Union’s foreign policy?

Michael Brtnický

Abstract: The wave of political transformations in the Mediterranean Arab countries has created new obstacles and opportunities for the EU’s Mediterranean policies. The southern and Eastern Mediterranean is an absolutely crucial field for the EU’s foreign policy due to the geographical proximity and economic, social and security importance of this area. Over the past 15 years the EU has developed coherent, well defined and complex foreign policy towards the Mediterranean. However none of the EU foreign policy initiatives was successful and this fact has reason in many contradictions and deficiencies inherent in the EU’s employment of this foreign policy. The connection made by the EU between the Mediterranean policies and resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian/Arab conflict; marginalization of the political forces which mobilize on the basis of Islamic rhetoric and symbols; lack of conditionality — especially negative one; cooperation and dependency on the Arab authoritarian regimes; and discrepancy between declared goals and praxis: these were the main reasons for the failure of the EU’s foreign policy in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. But the EU still has a time to adjust its foreign policy to the new political reality in this part of the world and reclaim legitimacy for its foreign policy in the Arab countries.

Keywords: European Union, foreign policy, structural foreign policy, Arab countries, Mediterranean