EU–Egypt relations at a crossroads

Authored by: Gerasimos Tsourapas

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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The Arab Republic of Egypt has long constituted a strategic partner of the European Union (EU). How has the relationship between the European Union and Egypt evolved, particularly in light of a number of domestic, regional and international crises affecting this key Arab country over the last ten years? This chapter provides an analysis of this relationship before, during and after the 2011 Arab uprisings, which arguably constituted a turning point for the EU’s foreign policy decision making towards the Mediterranean. The chapter pays particular attention to how Egypt’s brief experiment with democratisation between 2011 and 2013 has affected European political economy and foreign policy priorities. It begins with an introductory note that establishes the geopolitical importance of Egypt for the EU, before going into detail on the evolution of the bilateral relationship until today, particularly with regard to cooperation on issues of economics, energy and cross-border mobility. Overall, the chapter highlights the disjuncture between European normative goals and the everyday realities of the Cairo-Brussels relationship, which has been a fundamental characteristic of European approaches towards its Southern neighbourhood.

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