The EU’s First Response to the ‘Arab Spring’

A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity

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Abstract

This paper uses Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to analyse the EU’s first policy re-assessment in light of the ‘Arab Uprisings’. COM(2011)200 A Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity (PfDSP) claims to outline a new framework for EU Democracy Assistance (DA) based on a new conception of democracy, and a new position for democracy in the EU’s external relations. The paper analyses PfDSP and one of its key antecedents, COM(2001)252, to assess this claim, focusing on the way two pillars of the debate on democracy – civil-political and socio-economic rights – are defined and how they are organised into a narrative about democracy and its promotion. This analysis suggests that the conceptual structure – and therefore policy implications – of PfDSP maintain unaltered the substantive vision of a liberal model for both development and democratization in the region. This continuity sets the EU up to repeat earlier mistakes, which resulted in the poor reputation on democracy promotion which pro-democracy opposition groups – many of which were central to the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings – felt towards the EU before 2011.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-284
Number of pages19
JournalMediterranean Politics
Volume17
Issue number3
Early online date25 Oct 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2012

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prosperity
discourse analysis
democracy
EU
promotion
conception of democracy
Arab Spring
analysis
democratization
reputation
pillar
continuity
opposition
assistance
narrative

Keywords

  • EU
  • arab uprisings
  • European external action service
  • democracy
  • social rights
  • economic rights
  • liberalism
  • critical discourse analysis

Cite this

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abstract = "This paper uses Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to analyse the EU’s first policy re-assessment in light of the ‘Arab Uprisings’. COM(2011)200 A Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity (PfDSP) claims to outline a new framework for EU Democracy Assistance (DA) based on a new conception of democracy, and a new position for democracy in the EU’s external relations. The paper analyses PfDSP and one of its key antecedents, COM(2001)252, to assess this claim, focusing on the way two pillars of the debate on democracy – civil-political and socio-economic rights – are defined and how they are organised into a narrative about democracy and its promotion. This analysis suggests that the conceptual structure – and therefore policy implications – of PfDSP maintain unaltered the substantive vision of a liberal model for both development and democratization in the region. This continuity sets the EU up to repeat earlier mistakes, which resulted in the poor reputation on democracy promotion which pro-democracy opposition groups – many of which were central to the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings – felt towards the EU before 2011.",
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