The EU Response to Regime Change in the Wake of the Arab Revolt: Differential Implementation

to appear in Journal of European Integration

Assem Dandashly

Published: December 2014

Keywords: ENP, Middle East and North Africa, Arab Spring, democracy promotion, security


Following the Arab Spring, one might expect a paradigm shift in the EU’s attitude towards the MENA — at least with respect to democracy promotion. However, the EU response has been neither consistent nor coherent. This paper seeks to answer the following questions: How did the EU react to the Arab Spring events in North Africa? Is there evidence of any change in the goals and instruments pursued by the EU after the Arab Spring? And, do these goals and instruments change coherently across countries? The paper argues, first, that EU goals remain security and stability driven. While the EU viewed the Arab Spring as a window of opportunity for democracy, as events developed the EU prioritized security concerns as a response to the threat of instability in the MENA. And second, the utilization of instruments varied across time and cases due to the domestic politics of the targeted countries.


Publication: Assem-Dandashly-The-EU-Response-to-Regime-Change-in-the-Wake-of-the-Arab-Revolt