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The Arab Spring quickly turned into winters of discontent. Although the events that led up to and followed the Arab Spring cannot be laid directly at the EU’s doorstep, they nevertheless exposed the underpinning dualism behind the EU’s policies towards the region. Prior to the Arab Spring, the EU and its members had engaged in trade with the southern Mediterranean with relatively little comment on the autocratic nature of the regimes, in return for retaining order in the countries and stemming potential migratory flows. Not only did this informal compact unravel in 2011, it also marked a fundamental challenge to the EU in a region where it was supposed to be able to exert considerable attraction. The rise of Islamic State and other forms of Salafist jihadism pose fundamental challenges to stability in the region and beyond. The EU’s ability to help provide stability to the region in association with the Member States and other international partners will require a keener sense of the EU’s strategic interests and stakes. It will also be a litmus test for the Union’s pretentions to be a major actor shaping the international system.
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- Geopolitics in the Post–Arab Spring
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
- Chapter 6
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