Micro-Dynamics and Macro-Effects
Edited by Magdaléna Hadjiisky, Leslie A. Pal and Christopher Walker
Chapter 9: Whose ownership? Explaining EU–Tunisia policy transfer from a negotiation perspective
Tunisia is deemed the “bon élève” of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership since the launch of the Barcelona Process in 1995 and the prompt signature of the Association Agreement that same year. Nevertheless, a number of scholars agree on the strikingly partial, selective and uneven policy transfer not only in the realm of human rights and democracy promotion – a predictable finding under long-lasting authoritarian regimes – but also in depoliticized, rather technical and seemingly shared cooperation priorities. This chapter argues that limited policy transfer depends on how the two counterparts negotiated over time under an increasingly institutionalized framework established by the EU. More concretely, the analysis looks at the effects on the main EU–Tunisia agreements of the interaction between the multi-layered and increasingly constraining EU negotiation system and its counterpart. The study contends that the negotiation environment, which was mainly downloaded from the enlargement strategy, is routinizing and narrowing bargaining, depoliticizing the outcome of the negotiation and resulting in very well-structured, technical outputs rather than jointly owned cooperation priorities. Keywords: Tunisia, Euro-Mediterranean relations, EU Neighbourhood, Arab Spring, negotiation
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