The ENP and EU-Maghreb relations
Reason for embargo
This is the author accepted manuscript. It is currently under an indefinite embargo pending publication by the publisher
The recipients of the southern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) include a quite distinct grouping of countries, the Maghreb, which can be approached either as a full-fledged regional unit by itself or as a sub-regional setting comprised in the broader regional system of the Middle East and North Africa. The fact that the western part of the Arab world, or northwestern Africa, is constructed and recognised as a distinct geopolitical unit owes much to its intimate historical connection with – and external penetration by – European powers. Besides a similarly mixed Arab-Amazigh ethnic and linguistic background, and an also common Islamic religious identity, what has drawn the borders of the region as an imagined community is a somewhat shared colonial experience under the rule of predominantly France (in the case of the three “central Maghreb” countries, i.e. Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, as well as Mauritania) and secondarily Italy (Libya) and Spain (parts of Morocco and Western Sahara). For the purposes of geopolitical outlining and labelling, this commonality has prevailed over significant divergences between the concerned countries in terms of their contemporary histories – belonging to the Ottoman Empire, form and length of colonial rule, access to independence –, their economic, social and demographic structures, and their postcolonial political systems. This chapter addresses the questions of what are the structural characteristics of EU-Maghreb relations, and what factors account for these global features as well as bilateral differentiation vis-à- vis each individual country of the region in the framework of the ENP. The different answers provided are broadly connected to the main theoretical approaches in International Relations (IR), namely realism, liberalism and constructivism, incorporating also some insights from international political economy and postcolonialism. The following sections will examine the postcolonial legacies and background of the process of institutionalisation of EU-Maghreb relations; the debate on the degree of interdependence or dependency which can be observed in this relationship from an international political economy perspective; the realist hindrances to liberal region-building and integration between the Maghreb countries; and the allocation of foreign policy roles and bilateral differentiation between them in the context of the ENP. The focus will be placed on Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, since Mauritania is not included in the geopolitical scope of the ENP, Libya has so far remained outside most of the ENP structures despite being recognised as a potential participant, and the Western Sahara conflict has never been directly targeted by this EU policy.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in The Routledge Handbook on the European Neighbourhood Policy. Editors: Schumacher T, Marchetti A. on [date of publication to be added], available online: http://www.routledge.com/[BOOK ISBN URL to be added].18-month embargo to be applied on publication.
In The Routledge Handbook on the European Neighbourhood Policy. Editors: Schumacher T, Marchetti A. Routledge, Abingdon and New York 2017
Place of publication
Abingdon and New York