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By Costanza Musu (auth.)

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Extra info for European Union Policy towards the Arab-Israeli Peace Process: The Quicksands of Politics

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The Middle East Peace Process has in fact often been a sort of ‘testing ground’ for European foreign policy instruments and has offered the EU the opportunity to experiment with new instruments and initiatives. Greilsammer and Weiler (1987), in analysing European Political Cooperation policymaking, have drawn a distinction between (a) an ‘active’ policy, which seeks to influence events directly and to posit ‘Europe’ as an initiator of policy and a veritable world actor; (b) a ‘reactive’ policy, which is less concerned with direct influence, but rather with reacting to world events in order to minimise the costs to the reactive actor; and finally (c) a ‘reflexive’ policy, that is, a policy mainly concerned with the actual formation of a common policy as an integrative value per se.

Transatlantic relations are indeed of paramount importance in understanding and evaluating EU policy towards the Middle East peace process: this book tries to analyse the dynamics of these relations and of the burden-sharing process that takes place between the EU and the United States in the Middle East, and tries to understand how, and in what measure, the United States exerts its influence over EU Middle East policy. Structure of the book The book will proceed as follows. Chapter 2 provides the historical background, tracing the formulation of European policy towards the Arab–Israeli conflict from the creation of European Political Cooperation in 1969, and analysing its development until the Maastricht Conference and the introduction of the Common Foreign and Security Policy; the chapter also offers a brief overview of the structure of EPC and of the instruments the member states had at their disposal to deal with the problem of the Middle East conflict.

The start of the peace process in 1991, however, saw the United States (considering the inexorable decline of the Soviet Union) as the only accredited mediator (Moisi 2001; Neugart 2003; Serfaty 2000), accepted by both the Arabs (Sayigh 1991) and the Israelis (Adler 1998) and able to exert a definite political influence. Europe was invited only as a participant to the Peace Conference, and its potential role as an additional mediator was refused by the main actors involved in the process. Although initially cut out from the core negotiations and diplomatic efforts of the peace process initiated at Madrid, the European Union nevertheless gradually expanded its role, at least in its area of comparative advantage, that is, the economic area.

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