Between rhetoric and implementation of EU relations in the Mediterranean
: the case of the European neighbourhood policy (ENP) in Egypt

  • Ivano Bruno

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The European Neighbourhood Policy can be considered the most comprehensive articulation of a European Union policy in the southern Mediterranean. Much of the credibility of the EU as a regional actor is linked to its capacity to influence,integrate and stabilise its immediate neighbourhood. The advent of the Arab Spring has undermined these objectives and tested EU strategy in the region.
    This study aims to address the rationale and the implementation process of the ENP in Egypt, prior to events of January 25th 2011. It aims to question the ‘normative’ character of EU power and to assess its capacity to ‘shape’ its neighbourhood, and specifically, to induce change and reforms in Egypt. Through detailed elite interviews and extensive documentary analysis, this thesis contributes to knowledge on the ENP in Egypt by examining policy tools,processes and mechanisms, and their actual impact on the ground. Given the difficulty of analysing the ENP from one approach alone, this study has adopted an eclectic theoretical framework. Theoretical explanations of the ENP need to take into account the different and multiple dimensions of the policy, thus affecting our understanding of the EU as a regional actor. In particular, this thesis critiques ‘normative power Europe’ explanations of EU external action. According to this study, the normative power thesis finds strong supporting evidence in official documentation and public speeches by EU leaders but is far less apparent in the implementation process ‘on the ground’. In the context of Egypt, policy cycles, sectors and motivation have emerged as determining factors in the different explanations of EU international behaviour. This study has also demonstrated that although the European Neighbourhood Policy holds the tools and mechanisms to induce transformation and change in third countries, their practical application is often weak. The ENP in Egypt has been only partly successful in promoting change and reforms, with the success being selective, modest and sector oriented.
    The study has also highlighted the limits of Egypt as a third country, to absorb and adopt certain norms and values.
    Date of AwardMar 2016
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorFergus Carr (Supervisor), Tony Chafer (Supervisor) & Paul Flenley (Supervisor)

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