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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Wider Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East: strategic interests vs. identity dynamics in EU foreign policy making


The proposed research focuses on the EU's policy towards the Mediterranean/Middle East in view of the recently launched 'Wider Europe' scheme. Proposed by the EU Commission in March 2003, 'Wider Europe' reflects the dynamics of EU enlargement, prompting the EU to delineate its external borders and to reconsider relations to those neighbours that will not enter the EU in the foreseeable future. As a 'consolation prize', 'Wider Europe' proposes significantly upgraded relations with the economically and politically most 'advanced' neighbours, including the full integration into the EU's single market. This proposition is particularly relevant for the EU's policy towards the Mediterranean and Middle East. In fact, if implemented, Israel is expected to gain most from the 'Wider Europe' framework, as recent discussions between EU representatives and Israeli officials suggest.

Thus, 'Wider Europe' implies a departure from both the regionally oriented Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and the EU's traditional stance on Middle Ea stpeace-making. In spite of the Commission's explicit intention of integrating the 'Wider Europe' scheme into the EU's Mediterranean policy, a thorough analysis of motivations and implications points to a number of incompatibilities. This research assumes that the latter result from two very different logics within EU foreign policy-making, one reflecting the formulation of strategic foreign policy interests, the other resulting from the EU's 'internal' identity dynamics in view of EU enlargement. In light of t his assumption, there search objectives are three-fold: First, based on a concrete case study, the research aims at shedding light on EU foreign policy in-the-making. In this vein, it will investigate the different lines of policy in terms of origin, underlying logic, justification, and their interplay. Second, it will assess the impact of 'Wider Europe' on the EU's policy towards the Mediterranean/Middle East.

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