The Eastern Mediterranean: Between Power Struggles and Regionalist Aspirations

PRIO Report

Tziarras, Zenonas (2018) The Eastern Mediterranean: Between Power Struggles and Regionalist Aspirations. Re-imagining the Eastern Mediterranean Series: PCC Report: 2. Nicosia: PRIO Cyprus Centre.

Taking into account the power changes at the global level and their impact on the regional level (particularly the Eastern Mediterranean), it is here argued, in line with a small but growing body of literature, that the Eastern Mediterranean should be seen as a distinct geopolitical space. The report begins with an analysis of the transition of the international system to multipolarity, one of the outcomes of which is the regionalization of the international system and the growing importance of the regional level of analysis. It ultimately examines whether the Eastern Mediterranean as a distinct region (or sub-region) has been experiencing processes of regionalism with regard to different areas of cooperation. It further argues that the synergies currently under development in the Eastern Mediterranean could be seen as the first step towards a regionalist project (or "proto-regionalism"), highlighting, however, that the realization of such a project faces multiple limitations and is highly conditional on a number of factors that need to be addressed first. A more gradual, well-thought-out and comprehensive approach should be followed-one that would also address important regional challenges-if the involved actors want to invest in a stable and sustainable regionalist project.

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