The EU’s Reaction to the Arab Spring: External Media Portrayals in China, India and Russia

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Series Details Vol.18, Issue 2, May 2013, p217–233
Publication Date May 2013
ISSN 1384-6299
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The ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon (ToL) represents an attempt by the European Union (EU) to become a more visible and effective international actor. Foregoing the typical analysis on EU foreign policy, which posits what type of power it is, or what level of actorness it has, this article analyses the EU's international action from the perspective of three key external partners: China, India and Russia. External perceptions of the EU in three of the emerging BRIC countries are examined through systematically analysing newspaper articles in relation to the EU's action in the Arab Spring movements in North Africa and the Middle East. This article argues that despite the ToL's intentions, the EU's profile, in the news media at least, continues to be portrayed as an inefficient and perhaps irrelevant international actor in these countries, not only because of the EU's continuing difficulty in reaching common positions on tough international issues, but also because of the EU's inability to successfully communicate its decisions and action beyond its near borders.

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