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Re-conceptualising EU-North Africa Relations: 'Outside-In' and 'Inside-Out' Dynamics


Since the start of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (1995) until the Union for the Mediterranean (2008), North Africa has been at the core of the EU’s external projection. A set of bilateral and multilateral instruments have been deployed to advance the level of cooperation with the countries of North Africa and to provide stability, promote democracy and secure key economic interests in this area. However, the results of this policy have been mixed. Following the Arab uprisings in North African states, new realities and the changing geopolitics of the region call for a thorough re-think of the strategy, objectives and instruments the EU may adopt vis-à-vis North Africa. This chapter reflects on the record and limits of past EU policy frameworks and instruments and provides a re-conceptualisation of the North African space by dwelling on ‘outside-in’ and ‘inside-out’ dynamics. These dynamics shed light on the challenges to the development of a regional identity among North African countries stemming from both themselves and the cooperation with external actors.