The geopolitics of the Mediterranean region has changed dramatically in the twenty-first century, partly as a result of local state dynamics and partly as a product of transformational changes at the international and broader regional levels. As opposed to the early 1990s, the EU today is no longer the dominant or key actor in the Mediterranean and it now has to balance its policies and interests in the Mediterranean against the perceptible influence of a range of major and regional powers, most importantly the United States, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, Turkey, and Israel. In order to remain an influential actor, the EU needs to understand how these eight powers perceive the Mediterranean, interact with and within it, and conduct themselves in pursuit of their interests. This volume is the first of its kind which aims at shedding light on these issues – on how these powers have been constructing, or at least attempted to construct, different geopolitical imaginations of what the EU has labelled the Mediterranean region, and how their identity formations has impacted their role. Applying a common framework of analysis the contributors to this volume explore these and related issues comprehensively and systematically, shedding new light on these actors’ foreign policy and geopolitical considerations, in the process discerning with which actors in the Mediterranean they most closely interact, and the methods and policy areas they have tended to focus on. In so doing, the volume will show the areas of divergence, competition and conflict, between these actors, as well as the basis on which the EU can cooperate with one or more of these influential states for mutual benefit.
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