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Title: The making of European Union foreign policy : the case of the Palestinians (1969-2009)
Author: Banishamsa, Amjad Fouad Abdelaziz
ISNI:       0000 0004 2716 8372
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis sets out to examine how the EU develops its foreign policy towards the Palestinians, with what objectives, through what mechanisms and with what impact. The thesis draws principally from realist understandings of the EU and its foreign-policy making, arguing that this remains essentially an intergovernmentalist collaboration of self-interested rational nation-states. However, the process of building collective foreign policy making institutions, and socialising within them, and the functioning of those institutions themselves, generates functionalist dynamics as well which results in supranationalist institutions and “moments” when they are predominant over the general intergovernmentalism of the process. As a consequence, decision-making and implementation within the current CFSP, even in the post-Lisbon era, is diffused across different actors and institutions, creating a complex and at times contradictory mechanism which is dominated in the end by intergovernmentalism and the (differences between) member states’ interests.The thesis shows that when it comes to EU policy towards the Middle East, since the 1970s there have been some very clear shared interests of member states belonging to the EU. These have been grounded in security concerns, albeit promoted through liberal normative and institutionalist means. Precisely because these are shared interests, which are in each national case are only a part of a larger “bundle” of interests, they have been sufficient to drive inter-governmental collaboration but not sufficient to promote sustained supranationalist tendencies. Each member state has to balance the security interests they may share with partner countries, with other, sometimes conflicting interests. In order to manage this, national governments have retained a preference for inter-governmentalist foreign policy decision-making in the EU. The evolution of EU foreign policy towards the Middle East (via the Mediterranean global policy [GMP], Euro-Mediterranean Partnership [EMP], European Neighbourhood Policy [ENP], and the Union for the Mediterranean [UfM]) supports realist arguments that these largely security-based interests have guided states in their intergovernmental contributions to the EU policy-making process. Ultimately he EU uses the tools of liberal theory, mainly those of economic liberalisation, such as trade, aid, democracy promotion, human rights and sanctions, to achieve security and stability in the region. The EU’s support for the MEPP can also be understood within this context. When there is a contradiction between these liberal values and the security interests of the member states, security interests take priority. In other words, the EU is a realist actor in liberal clothes. The thesis demonstrates how EU policy towards the Palestinians ultimately reflects this pre-occupation with the EU’s own security, despite its normative commitments to Palestinian democratisation and its declared support for Palestinian economic development through financial and technical assistance. Whilst EU member states largely share a common vision for the political resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and one which is embedded within the supranationalist institutions like the Commission, their ability to advance their own collective role in that process is restricted by differing relations with third parties and varying priorities, which are advanced through the dominant intergovernmentalist institutions (like the Council). The ultimate result has been to make policy towards the Palestinians a victim of the failing Peace Process, and to limit the implementation and effectiveness of declared EU policy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available