Much has been written about EU democracy promotion policy towards the Middle East and North African (MENA) countries from a European perspective. Few studies, however, have focused on the perspective of MENA states’ foreign policy, that is, on factors influencing their policy orientation and adaptive behaviours towards the EU. This article seeks to analyse adaptation strategies of MENA states’ governments by using comparative Foreign Policy Adaptation (FPA) and adaptation theory as conceptual framework. Adaptation theory, it is argued, has an added threefold value: it describes and analyses specific balance sheets of two independent variables – ‘influence capabilities’ on the one hand and ‘stress sensitivities’ on the other. Furthermore, adaptation theory highlights specific cooperation dilemmas for both MENA countries and the EU. Following that, it finally helps to identify hard choices for the EU.
European Foreign Affairs Review