The European Union's critical engagement with the Syrian Arab Republic

Francesco Cavatorta, Arantza Gomez Arana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the way in which the Syrian search for a renewed partnership with Europe has met with the corresponding European Union (EU) foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). In particular, the impact on the EU of dealing with Syria has not been analysed. This article contributes to fill this gap and examines the founding principles and policy mechanisms of EU engagement with Syria and what they tell us about the priorities, interests, and beliefs of the EU. This is important because the nature of the Syrian regime provides us with the possibility to explore how the EU engages with countries that have a very problematic relationship with the West. What emerges is that EU policy-making is not only highly complex but is greatly influenced by the regime with which it works and therefore, contrary to what many argue, is a pragmatic actor in international relations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-644
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Foreign Affairs Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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