The European Union (EU) has come out with a new agenda for the southern neighborhood, reflecting a changing environment in which the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for a shared economic and social recovery are put to the forefront. Does this new agenda respond to the demands and practices of the Arab uprisings or does it revert to the stability paradigm? We argue that the EU could regain relevance in a multipolar region by putting itself more firmly behind citizens and their demands in the region. Rather than seeing citizens as “norm-takers” of the EU, it needs to begin to see them as “norm-makers”, including for the EU.
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