The Arab Spring and Regional Integration: Can the EU and Turkey Cooperate?
Regional integration has long been seen as an effective tool for encouraging regional peace, stability, and prosperity, with the added expectation that economic growth may also facilitate transition to democracy. Working on these same assumptions, the EU and Turkey have developed different approaches to regional integration. The EU sought to develop institutional integration through the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the European Neighborhood Policy, and the subsequent Union for the Mediterranean, while Turkey — increasingly becoming a “trading state” — has multiplied and diversified its economic interactions with the Maghreb and Mashreq countries. The Arab Spring has led to a critical assessment of these practices. This policy brief outlines the challenges and opportunities that regional integration faces in the wake of the Arab Spring.