The literature on the external relations of the EU often emphasises the normative nature of the Union’s policies. It follows that specific policy initiatives such as the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) are then assessed according to normative parameters. This paper challenges this assumption and argues that a realist interpretation of the Union’s external policies contributes to a better understanding of what the EU does abroad. In order to substantiate such theoretical claims, the paper analyses in detail the EU’s relations with the authoritarian state of Morocco and highlights how realist concerns dominate the Union’s preoccupations to the detriment of the normative values it espouses on paper. The paper concludes by arguing that if a different theoretical framework from the mainstream normative one is used to assess the Union’s policies, the outcome of this assessment changes quite radically. In the case of EMP, for instance, we claim that the Union has been rather successful in pursuing its material, realist interests. This has important implications for how the EU will operate when more integration on foreign policy matters occurs.
|Number of pages||20|
|Journal||European Foreign Affairs Review|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|