By Costanza Musu (auth.)
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Extra info for European Union Policy towards the Arab-Israeli Peace Process: The Quicksands of Politics
The end of the Cold War and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union created a political vacuum in the Middle East, which could have represented a political opening for the EU. Theoretically, there was the opportunity to redefine EU–US interaction and the dynamics of burden-sharing in the region, and Europe could potentially have increased its role and influence in the Middle East peace process. The start of the peace process in 1991, however, saw the United States (considering the inexorable decline of the Soviet Union) as the only accredited mediator (Moisi 2001; Neugart 2003; Serfaty 2000), accepted by both the Arabs (Sayigh 1991) and the Israelis (Adler 1998) and able to exert a definite political influence.
An upsurge of international terrorism, exemplified by the terrorist attack on Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, gave the European governments a clear perception of Europe’s exposure to cross-border terrorism and prompted an enhanced cooperation on this issue. In December 1975 the so-called Trevi Group was created by the Rome European Council, with the objective of promoting (a) cooperation in the fight against terrorism; (b) exchange of information about terrorist organisation; and (c) the equipment and training of police organisations, in particular in anti-terrorist tactics (Den Boer and Wallace 2000).
Some countries, in particular France, are not satisfied with a US-dominated peace process and wish for a more active EU policy. French leaders have often argued that the European Union partly defines itself through emancipation from the United States’ dominant influence, and that confrontation with the United States at times stimulates cohesion between Member States (Blunden 2000). Transatlantic relations are indeed of paramount importance in understanding and evaluating EU policy towards the Middle East peace process: this book tries to analyse the dynamics of these relations and of the burden-sharing process that takes place between the EU and the United States in the Middle East, and tries to understand how, and in what measure, the United States exerts its influence over EU Middle East policy.