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IMT Alti Studi Lucca (2015)

The implementation of the European neighbourhood policy in Tunisia and Morocco : when domestic actors make a difference

Fontana, Iole Pina

Titre : The implementation of the European neighbourhood policy in Tunisia and Morocco : when domestic actors make a difference

Auteur : Fontana, Iole Pina

Université de soutenance : IMT Alti Studi Lucca

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2015

Résumé
The goal of this work is to go beyond context free analyses of EU external action and to analyse the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in the Mediterranean by taking into account the role of local actors in the countries that are the final recipients of the policy. The starting assumption is that the implementation of the ENP cannot be explained merely in light of the ENP policy design and genetic weakness, as well as only in light of EU interests and actorness. While relevant, these explanations at the core of the prevailing top-down approach to the study of EU external policies provide just a frame of explanation, insofar as they are not able to fully capture ENP implementation’s dilemmas, as well as how implementation works on the local ground. Moreover, they are not able to explain the commitments-payments gap and the different implementation performance of the neighbouring countries. The aim of this thesis is to analyse how EU external policies are implemented in the domestic context of the recipient countries and to explain the obstacles and the facilitating conditions, which affect implementation on the ground and account for the countries’ different performance. By using the ENP in Morocco and Tunisia as a case study, this work analyses the role played by three specific domestic actors -political actors, administration and civil society- in determining ENP implementation performance on the ground. Secondly, it investigates how the Arab Spring affected these explanatory variables and, in turn, shaped the implementation of the policy after 2011. The work argues that domestic actors can make a difference insofar as the degree of (mis)fit between the goals of domestic political actors and the ENP reform agenda, the degree of administrative capacity and the degree of strength and autonomy of civil society influence the implementation of the ENP on the ground and the absorption of EU funds. Secondly, if after 2011 there was a big variance in the way Mediterranean countries absorbed and implemented ENPI funds, this is because the Arab Spring, with its different degrees of change and (in)stability across countries, altered in a different way the value of the three explanatory variables, determining different ENP implementation performances

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