Federica Zardo, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Torino

Whose ownership? Exploring EU-Tunisia post-revolutionary migration and mobility agenda


Soon after the jasmine revolution and the fall of Ben Ali’s regime in 2011, two entwined dossiers immediately entered the cooperation agenda between the EU and Tunisia and dominated bilateral negotiations: on the one hand, the Joint Declaration for Mobility Partnership and on the other, provisions aimed at the liberalisation of Trade in Services. The signature Declaration was an important breakthrough in EU-Tunisia cooperation, since after decades of stalemate, the agreement allegedly sealed a new mutual will to cooperate in a sensitive policy area. On the contrary, trade is services seemingly did not record major advances.

Despite their pivotal role in the “new turn” in EU-Tunisia relations, and against the quest for strengthened ownership stated in the documents for a revised ENP, neither the Mobility Partnership, which was almost signed by stealth, nor the debate on the liberalisation dossier, were overtly publicized.

This contribution takes on negotiation processes as an observation point and argues that the first steps of the EU-Tunisia Privileged Partnerships tended to replicate rooted dynamics rather than breaking with the past. These two entwined dossiers are telling negotiation outcome of post-revolutionary interactions under an increasingly institutionalised Euro-Mediterranean framework of cooperation.

In this respect, the permanence of deep institutional embeddedness in times of transition limited the leeway of the Tunisian government and – to the extent that processes and institutions remain rather unquestioned in current talks on the revised Neighbourhood Policy – it questions the possibility for future cooperation priorities to be truly co-owned.

It is contended that under the ENP, institutions formed a constraining environment for the negotiating parties and decidedly shaped the relationship and the process. If the strategic use of the ENP architecture was also aimed at limiting Ben Ali’s misuse of external cooperation for the purpose of regime stability, in post-revolutionary Tunisia, it could contradict the co-ownership premises, undermine mutual trust and confirm the asymmetric nature of the relationship.

Since an operational approach to ownership must include an analysis of the processes of dialogue, bargaining, and signalling (Boughton and Mourmouras, 2002), the negotiation perspective allows to identify which stages of the policy process does Tunisia actually own, to account for its role in the Partnership and to explain the attitudes of both European and Tunisian towards this core pillar of the ENP.



Anas A. Buera, PhD, Department of Politics, University of Exeter

Libya and EU Relations: Past Failure and Future prospects. "Lessons of communicative narratives of Economic Reforms”


The Libyan authoritarian regime was interested in presenting some features of ‘good governance’ in the last decade of its rule, however, this reform was approached ‘selectively’ with specific intentions directed only at particular external audiences. The European Union was the main target towards which such selective reform activities were presented. As a result, new governance narratives were deployed. This paper provides an analysis of the communicative discourse based on systematic coding of policy stories, causal plots, identities of the narrators, and the discursive construction of economic policy reforms in the domains of privatization, regulatory reform, and economic liberalization. This analysis provides a clear picture of the nature of the Libyan narratives of economic reform directed to Europe in the period preceding the regime collapse in 2011. This will provide a clear image for the governance weakness in the current transition.


This paper provides an overview over the deployed Libyan narratives of economic governance directed at the EU within the time period from 2003 until the end of the Gaddafi regime in 2010. The paper aims to present the efforts of the former Libyan regime of reform activities where the former dictatorship intended to deliver specific aspects of good governance utilizing only the economic domain and intentionally disregarding other elements and domains that might threaten challenge the regime continuity. existence. Accordingly, the main purpose of this paper is to explore the changeable attitudes towards the EU.


In this regard, we use the ‘discursive narratives literature’, which employs the combination of ‘discursive institutionalism (DI)’ and the ‘narrative policy framework (NPF)’ as they both can better interpret the policy dynamics of economic reform. We then provide a holistic review of the EU neighbourhood policy (ENP) towards Libya drawing on lessons gained from features of the Gaddafi regime’s narratives of reform.

In order to do this, we employ an exploratory case study (Libya, 2003-2010) and formulate explicit five theory-driven hypotheses derived from the DI and NPF literature about the Libyan governance narratives towards the EU. We aim to test (them) by coding a coherent body of documents with the N-Vivo software.


Our understanding of the communicative narratives of governance will provide

lessons to understand the future engagement of the EU in the participation of

establishing a genuine economic reform in the future in light of its ENP package

suggested for Libya.


Daniela Verena Huber, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), Via Angelo Brunetti, 9

Youth as a new 'foreign policy challenge' in the MENA. A critical interrogation of EU and US youth-related policies in Morocco and Tunisia

It is not only since January 2011 and the so-called ‘youth revolutions’ that youth has become a key concept through which Europeans and Americans are viewing the Arab world. Already in the 2000s, the theory of ‘youth bulges’ gained in currency whereby an unproportional large growth of youth was portrayed as making societies vulnerable to civil conflict, presumably due to the high unemployment the phenomenon was causing. As Europeans and Americans increasingly problematized demographic ageing in their own countries, they did the same for its mirror phenomenon, the demographic ‘rejuvenation’ in what has become one of the key geostrategic world regions since September 11. As the ‘youth bulge’ and their exclusion from the political, social, and economic spheres became increasingly seen as an issue, Western states have shed more focus on youth in their foreign and assistance policies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). But are these policies actually contributing to the inclusion of youth?

To examine if and how international actors impact on complex processes of exclusion of youth in MENA, this presentation examines EU and US youth-related policies in Morocco and Tunisia by focusing on two questions:

1)   How do the EU and the US frame youth in MENA?

2)   How do EU and the US policies reproduce such frames in practices?

Analysed are multiple policies which are influencing the daily life of youth. While policies are never youth neutral, the analysis focuses on those policies which are likely to have a most concrete influence on the daily life of youth, that is political participation, migration, counter-terrorism, labour market, housing, family and gender policies. These policy areas are also reflecting certain key priorities of the US and EU in these countries.

I will argue that the EU and the US have framed youth as an asset, challenge, and threat in relation to their ideal vision of order in the region which has justified policies which largely reproduced the challenge and the threat frame whereby the youth bulge is a labour market challenge, young Muslim men are terror threats and threats to women, young Muslim women are victims and non-productive, etc. As policies have reproduced the youth discourse, they have not been tailored to the needs of youth, so reinforcing exclusionary structures within which youth pursue their daily life. As much as there is regime resilience in the region, we can also find a resilience of EU and US policies in the region. To make a change for youth in the region, both would have to turn-away from setting the agenda solely in the donor states, towards including civil society groups in target states more substantially in this endeavour.


Dr Clara PORTELA, Singapore Management University

Sanctions and the ENP – A focus on the Southern Mediterranean


The European Union has frequently applied sanctions against targets in its neighbourhood in the context of its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). Currently, Syria, Belarus, Ukraine/Russia or Moldova are at the receiving end of EU sanctions. These measures display varying degrees of targetedness, ranging from sanctions that apply to entire sectors of the economy to blacklists featuring leaders and high-ranking officials – including individuals who lost office as a result of the Arab Spring.

Despite the relative frequency with which the EU has targeted its neighbours, and the existence of conditionality provisions in the ENP, the relationship between the ENP and CFSP has received little discussion and has not yet been clarified. The present paper intends to address this gap by reviewing the EU’s sanctions practices in the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in an effort to ascertain their relationship. The paper does so by focusing on its Southern dimension and comparing it with its Eastern strand. The paper proceeds as follows. It starts with an introduction to the EU sanctions, the legal provisions and institutional machinery that triggers their application. This is followed by an overview of the basic features of the sanctions policy of the EU, identifying the catalogue of conditionality and sanctions instruments available to the EU can and discussing its relationship to the incentives toolbox currently applied in the ENP.

In a third step, the paper looks at the EU’s employment of sanctions in the Southern neighbourhood, which has been frequent in recent years as a result of the Arab Spring and its fall-out. Cases studies include notably the current sanctions against Syria, one of the most draconian regimes ever imposed by the EU, the 2011 sanctions against Lybia, which coincided and were partly superseded by UN measures, as well as the blacklists imposed on ousted Tunisian and Egyptian leaders. The case studies will be analysed in an effort to disentangle the kind of violation that elicited the sanctions, the objectives of the measures imposed and the composition of the sanctions package, and to relate it to the conditionality principles embedded in the ENP framework. In the analysis, three questions will be explored:

a/ whether, despite the fact that the ENP is a policy based on differentiation, the application of sanctions displays a pattern of consistency;

b/ what is the nature of the link between ENP conditionality and the CFSP sanctions, if any;

c/ whether the two above features differ significantly between the Southern and Eastern dimension of the ENP.  

The paper concludes by discussing how ENP membership and performance affects the likelihood of being targeted by CFSP sanctions and the nature of the restrictions agreed, and by situating the employment of sanctions in its neighbourhood in the wider context of EU general sanctions practice.


Peter Seeberg, Center for Contemporary Middle East Studies, University of Southern Denmark

Mediterranean security and the revision of the ENP – the case of Egypt


It is the idea of this paper to discuss security dimensions of the relations between the EU and Egypt in the context of the ongoing revision of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The paper focuses on the recent Egyptian history, taking its point of departure in the development after the take-over by Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, who came to power following a coup in July 2013 and later on, after being elected in May 2014, was sworn in as President in early June 2014. The period since then has been characterized by political, security and economic challenges for Egypt, starting in the summer of 2013, where the new Egyptian authorities violently dispersed sit-ins in Cairo on 14 August, which led to the death of more than 1000 people. A state of emergency was reinstated, lasting for several months. An extraordinary EU Foreign Affairs Council in August 2013 adopted conclusions condemning the violence and called for an end to the state of emergency, the release of political prisoners and the restoration of the democratic process. In short the political relations between Egypt and the EU at least temporarily cooled down and due to this development no progress took place in addressing agreements within the framework of the ENP.

Based on an analysis of Egypt’s strategic importance for the EU the paper will discuss significant security issues related to regional security complexes in which Egypt is playing a role. Egypt is obviously, due to its geostrategic location, its huge population and because of its energy resources potentially of importance for the EU. From the side of the EU the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) include Egypt in several dimensions of its military and civilian missions and operations and in its sanctions policies, which also have launched measures aiming at influencing Egyptian decision making. Egypt has traditionally played a significant role in relation to Israel and in connection with Gaza and the Hamas led political leadership there. EU’s ambition of playing a role in conflict prevention, peace building and mediation in the Mashreq is thus to some degree dependent on the level of consensus with the government in Egypt.

The domestic situation in Egypt is also affecting the EU’s security concerns. The polarization between the Islamic parties and movements and the other parties and movements is still causing frequent confrontations. The Constitution of January 2014, approved by less than 40% in a referendum, might represent elements related to rights and freedoms, which are in accordance with European norms, but still the parliament is absent, and the elections postponed. The EU and Egypt share commonalities of interest containing terrorist activities and work together on this on an operational level. The issue of migration plays an important role, not least because Egypt is the largest producer of migrants in the Middle East. New migratory tendencies related to Africa south of the Sahara and irregular migration across the Mediterranean are growing and adds to Egypt’s own migration in representing a significant issue in connection with the EU’s revision of the ENP.


Dr. Martin Beck, Professor for Contemporary Middle East Studies, University of Southern Denmark

“How to avoid walking the talk? The demand for Palestinian statehood as a challenge for the European Neighborhood Policy”

The starting point of the present paper is the observation that a political reconfiguration is occurring: Although in the 21st century the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is no longer the mother of all Middle Eastern conflicts from the perspective of power politics, it still ranks very high on the regional and international agenda in terms of normative politics. This crucial normative aspect makes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a major foreign policy challenge for the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP): Part of  the identity of the European Union is to be an actor whose policies follows—much more than traditional states—globally shared values such as human rights and the promotion of a just distribution of resources. Accordingly, the European Union’s foreign policy has been portrayed as being based on the concept of “civilian power” by both scholars and European decision-makers.

The aim of the current paper is to further contextualize and analyze the foreign policy challenges for the ENP on three levels: the history of European foreign policies concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the structural opportunities and constraints of realizing a two-state solution, and the institutional ENP opportunities and constraints of walking the talk of a two-state solution.

Even the predecessor of the EU (European Economic Community) was very engaged in designing a common value-based policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Designing such a policy was actually a major asset of the institutional nucleus of a common European foreign policy—the European Political Cooperation (EPC) established in 1970. On the level of declaratory policy, the European Union developed more and more into a global leader for the promotion of a Palestinian state, as documented in the Berlin Declaration of 1999. However, at the latest with the failure of the Oslo peace process, a mismatch occurred between the European declaratory policy, which was always based on the assumption that a Palestinian state should be established as the outcome of bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and the chances to realize this vision in terms of realpolitik. What started as being perceived as a promising approach—bilateral negotiations that would finally lead to a Palestinian state living in peaceful coexistence with Israel—ended as a failure at the latest with the Second Intifada. All American-inspired attempts to revitalize bilateral negotiations have only proved fruitless: The positional gap between Israel and the PLO has been widening in the 21st century. At the same time, Israel is far more powerful than the PLO and can very well live with the status quo—in fact, this may even be its favorite state of affairs—which is why it does not have any incentive to accept “painful compromises.”

With the enlargement of the EU in the 1990s, the European foreign policy position toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict became more heterogeneous. At the same time, the newly established Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) failed to develop as a strong instrument of a joint European foreign policy, as it is based on the idea of a consensus-oriented common policy rather than on supranationality. The differences between members of the EU became very apparent in their policy responses to the recent Palestinian request for full recognition of the State of Palestine. Whereas the Swedish government did so and the French and other parliaments of EU member states opted for doing so, some other major actors within the EU are strongly opposed to such a move.

The paper finally discusses ENP policy options to contribute to walking the talk of Palestinian statehood: unilateralization (this is recognizing a Palestinian state as Sweden did), multilateralization of the negotiation process on a Palestinian state, and revitalization of the approach of bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. It shows that the first two approaches are not promising in terms of success conditions, since powerful members of the EU are strongly opposed to unilaterally recognizing Palestine without Israeli approval; multilateralization of the negotiation process faces major obstacles, particularly because Israel and the US have no interest in it. The success conditions for revitalizing a bilateral approach appear to  be a more realistic option. However, the likelihood that such revitalization of the bilateral approach may lead to an independent Palestinian state is rather low.

Federica Bicchi, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of International Relations, London School of Economics

De-recognising settlements, recognising Palestine? European practices in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict


This paper aims to contribute to the literature on Europe and the Arab-Israeli conflict by focusing on the forms of recognition, non-recognition and de-recognition that Europeans practice in their relation to Israel and Palestine. Recognition is a gradual process, more than a black-or-white phenomenon and the paper articulates different steps in the process. The evidence shows that EU member states have all recognised the key role of the PLO and have recognised or are very close to the recognition of Palestine, but have maintained only the most basic form of recognition of Hamas. In parallel, member states have retracted recognition to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, although the process has been slow and fragmented, as well as shrouded in technicalities, the labelling issue being just the latest one.

Dr. Nicole Koenig, Jacques Delors Institut, Berlin

The ENP’s security dimension: lessons from Libya and Syria

Mounting security challenges in the neighbourhood have led to the recognition that the EU needs to strengthen the ‘security dimension’ of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). But the question is how? The 2015 joint Consultation Paper on the ENP revision presented by the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy illustrates that the EU continues to struggle with this question. It asks: How can the ENP respond flexibly to conflicts and crises in partner countries? How can it be better integrated with the member states’ foreign and security policies? Should there be closer links between the ENP and instruments in the framework of the Common Foreign and Security Policy or the Common Security and Defence Policy? Should the ENP’s focus on counter-terrorism, organised crime or Security Sector Reform be strengthened?

These questions are particularly relevant for two cases: Libya and Syria. Both countries have remained at the margins of the ENP. The respective pro-democratic uprisings in spring 2011 marked a break with long-standing EU and member states patterns of prioritising stability to the detriment freedom and democracy. Hopes for democratisation raised by the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ were soon dashed by a ‘dark autumn’ of violence and continuous or intermittent civil war. The consequences of these conflicts have been felt across the region and the EU due to uncontrollable migration flows, a surge in transnational organised crime, and an increased terrorist threat.

A review of ENP activities prior to and during these conflicts illustrates the difficulties of implementing the policy’s security aspects. The partner countries’ relatively low interest in closer association with the EU stood in the way of effective structural conflict prevention before 2011. When violence escalated most diplomatic and economic ties within the framework of the ENP were cut and the EU member states took the stage in areas of ‘high politics’. Due to different priorities, threat and risk perceptions they did not use the EU as their main vehicle for diplomatic and military conflict management, but acted unilaterally, in broader multilateral frameworks or within coalitions of the willing. Meanwhile, the EU’s swift collective responses in the fields of humanitarian aid and sanctions contributed to containing the conflicts and mitigating some of their consequences. The 2011 ENP revision and the EU’s declared readiness to resume bilateral negotiations (once the political and security conditions allowed for it) had little impact on the development of the conflicts. Nevertheless, useful lessons could be learned in terms of the flexible use of ENP funds in complementarity to other EU conflict management measures in fields such as security sector reform, migration management and counter-terrorism.

Tamirace Fakhoury, Assistant Professor, Political Sciences and International Affairs, Lebanese American University

The EU's role in Lebanon's perilous path since the outbreak of the Syrian war.

The paper assesses the European Union's (EU) role in Lebanon's contested track to conflict resolution (CR) since the outbreak of the Syrian war. First, it discusses Lebanon's major institutional and societal dilemmas since  2011. Then it problematizes the ways through which the EU has assisted Lebanon in resolving its governance crises, empowering cross-communal dialogue, and mitigating the spillovers of Syria's crisis  in the domains of refugee crisis and security.  

Building on Seeberg's thesis (2009) and Fakhoury's former publication (2014) in the framework of the first CSS conference, the paper shows the tension between EU's projected normative impact and its pragmatic role on the ground. A case in a point is EU's growing concern to cooperate with Lebanon with regards to the file of irregular migration in view of dealing with the massive influx of refugees to the European shore of the Mediterranean.  In this instance, the paper goes to unpack the following question: despite constant ambitious efforts to recast its role as a democratizing and CR agent since the so-called Arab spring, to what extent has the EU supported democratization, good governance  and conflict regulation in Lebanon?



Anas El Gomati, Founder & General Director, Sadeq Institute

Libya: The emerging threat of a failed state in the Mediterranean and the after effects

Libya was central to the Arab Spring, a country which the international community and in particular the European Union played a pivotal role in the political, diplomatic and military push in February 2011 that led to the NATO led intervention to support the Libyan rebels oust Mu'ammar Al Qaddafi's regime in October.


Since 2011 however Libya has slid into civil war between domestic factions, a set of satellite provinces that has pledged allegiance to ISIS and diplomatic & economic relations have broken down, in addition to the EU falling behind the Arab World as the main political players in Libya.


This paper examines the main political and military break points over the past 4 years in Libya and searches for policy solutions at the national and regional level along three main themes, which at their heart searches for common ground, new forms of communication, and re-understanding Libya at the centre of the Mediterranean and the centre of the Arab Spring 4 years on from the revolution:


i) Refugee crisis in focus: policy recommendations for the union

ii). ISIS in Libya: Increasing Salafi Jihadi threat.

iii))widening gap between southern and northern med countries



Dr. Hana S. El-Gallal
Euro-Mediterranean Partnership And Promotion of Women’s Rights


Women’s rights in the Euro-Mediterranean basin are an important indicator to understand the region well-being. A major women’s rights decisions were taken , yet, despite many successes in empowering women, numerous issues still exist in all areas of life, ranging from the cultural, political to the economic, gender discrimination which affects girls and women throughout their lifetime; and women and girls are often are the ones that suffer the most poverty. The questions are how much the Euro-Mediterranean helped in advancing promotion and protection of women and their rights? Do women rights protection and empowerment were part of the Euro-Mediterranean initiatives and decisions? Were there notable difficulties for Euro-Mediterranean reform agenda for promotion of women’s rights in the region. How much were the initiatives of the Euro-Mediterranean taken were around women rights and women potential who represent a great untapped resource? To answer these questions, will be a very important step to know how much is being done to promote women’s rights in order to know how much is lacking and where are the area of priorities in future panning.

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