International Relations theory and EU–Middle East relations

Authored by: Filippo Dionigi

Routledge Handbook of EU–Middle East Relations

Print publication date:  December  2021
Online publication date:  December  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367330767
eBook ISBN: 9780429317873
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter assesses how and the extent to which IR theory, in its various forms, has contributed to the understanding of the interactions between the European Union and Middle Eastern actors. It surveys macroscopically the main theoretical approaches to EU–Middle Eastern politics and evaluates the benefits and shortcomings of each of these. In particular, it reconstructs the ways in which realism, liberalism, constructivism and critical theory approaches have analysed some of the key issues concerning the interactions between the EU and MENA states. While each of these approaches has its drawbacks and strengths, the chapter highlights the need for new thinking and greater innovation at large. I end with a consideration of the possible ways forward for this debate highlighting the potential for greater theoretical innovations and a more inclusive approach.

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