The European Community Framing of the Mediterranean (1970-1990), Sally Khalifa Isaac and Haidi Esmat Kares (IAI, Italy)

This paper examines the early phase of European construction of the Mediterranean during the 1970s and 1980s. It seeks to analyse how the European Community (EC) discursively constructed itself against the Mediterranean as a neighbouring space, and how it mapped the Mediterranean accordingly. It concludes that early attempts towards European construction of the Mediterranean were mainly triggered by the EC’s economic interests and necessitated by its recurring enlargement processes. The EC did not perceive the Mediterranean as a coherent region, and a clear distinction was made between its various geographical components. The analysis also shows that most of the Community’s initiatives for political cooperation with many Mediterranean countries did not succeed. It demonstrates how most Europeans perceived Middle East politics as a domain of US active diplomacy, even while the EC perceived itself as the most powerful actor capable of constructing the Mediterranean as a zone of economic prosperity.

MedReset Papers 2, Roma, IAI, April, 2017, 23 p.