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France and the Mediterranean

International Relations, Culture and Politics

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Edited By Emmanuel Godin and Natalya Vince

This multidisciplinary edited volume examines wide-ranging exchanges between France and its Mediterranean neighbours and their impact. It questions the changing notion of a Mediterranean space and its representation, centrality and relevance in terms of France’s international relations under Sarkozy’s presidency, from the launch of the Union for the Mediterranean and its complex articulations with the European Union’s own agenda in the region, to the tortuous relations with Libya, made even more complicated by the 2011 ‘Arab Spring’. Beyond the realm of state relations and formal policy networks, the volume examines the crucial role played by diasporas, the interplay between postcolonial and transnational representations in the fields of cultural diplomacy, cinema and architecture, and considers how these can produce merged or hybrid identities. Later in the collection, the politics of ethnicity in post-war France, the interplay between negative perceptions of Islam and the changing memory of the Algerian War, and the evolution of Franco-Algerian relations since 1962 are used to question the weight of the colonial past when analysing the relations between France and North Africa.

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Ivano Bruno - French Foreign Policy in the Mediterranean: Europeanization between Collective and National Approaches 69

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Ivano Bruno French Foreign Policy in the Mediterranean: Europeanization between Collective and National Approaches The events that shook the Arab world in early 2011 have raised profound questions about the EU and its strategy in the region. For some, the Arab Spring has proved that EU initiatives in the Mediterranean were inad- equately formulated and should be deemed a failure. Despite the criticism, the EU seems to have taken a strong stance towards Libya and Syria and has responded to the needs of Egypt and Tunisia with added financial allocations. As usual, reaching a coherent EU position has taken time and does not preclude further member states’ power struggles, negotia- tions and compromises. The question that remains unanswered however is what the EU approach towards the ‘new’ Arab partners will be and, more importantly, to what extent member states will play a role in shaping and inf luencing EU Mediterranean policy in order to ref lect their prefer- ences and interests. This chapter will argue that in line with its traditional foreign policy orientation, France has attempted to increase its regional inf luence in the Mediterranean by articulating its preferences at the supra- national level. In this context, this chapter will attempt to highlight the role and relevance of France and other actors key to the development of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and, specifically, the Union for the Mediterranean. The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) initially launched by President Sarkozy is the latest addition to the EU’s Mediterranean policy framework. At...

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