EU external policy-making and the case of Morocco: ‘Realistically’ dealing with authoritarianism?

Francesco Cavatorta, Raj S. Chari, Sylvia Kritzinger, Arantza Gomez Arana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The literature on the external relations of the EU often emphasises the normative nature of the Union’s policies. It follows that specific policy initiatives such as the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) are then assessed according to normative parameters. This paper challenges this assumption and argues that a realist interpretation of the Union’s external policies contributes to a better understanding of what the EU does abroad. In order to substantiate such theoretical claims, the paper analyses in detail the EU’s relations with the authoritarian state of Morocco and highlights how realist concerns dominate the Union’s preoccupations to the detriment of the normative values it espouses on paper. The paper concludes by arguing that if a different theoretical framework from the mainstream normative one is used to assess the Union’s policies, the outcome of this assessment changes quite radically. In the case of EMP, for instance, we claim that the Union has been rather successful in pursuing its material, realist interests. This has important implications for how the EU will operate when more integration on foreign policy matters occurs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-376
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Foreign Affairs Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'EU external policy-making and the case of Morocco: ‘Realistically’ dealing with authoritarianism?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this