|EuroMeSCo Paper 16: EU Conditionality after the Arab Spring|
|Written by Rosa Balfour|
Rosa Balfour analyses how the European diplomatic narrative and EU political conditionality towards North Africa and the Middle East have been re-invented after the Arab Spring. According to the new rhetoric, EU institutions encourage the governments of those countries which have chosen to embark on the transition to democracy to choose the level of engagement expected from the EU. The EU is now increasingly explicit about its definitions of standards to be achieved and the expectations to be met.
The paper also analyses the revision of political conditionality. The main argument is that the focus on political conditionality raises more problems than it solves: the EU is trying to reshape its relations with the region by twiddling with the tools rather than rethinking the nature of relations between the two shores, which would be a precondition for a new approach. Until deeper and longstanding problems of engagement with the region are addressed, any changes introduced will be of limited scope.
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