Jordan, Political Reforms and the Arab Spring: the Role of External Forces with Special Reference to the EU in influencing Reforms Process

waleed khaled abudalbouh


This research attempts to examine the extent to which the Arab Spring influenced the interests of foreign donors – with special reference to the European Union (the EU) - in shaping political reforms process in Jordan. Amidst rising instability throughout the Middle East since the outbreak of the “Arab Spring “the government has launched numerous domestic reforms in response to protests within his own country. However, these amendments seem to be nothing but cosmetic measures as it seems only implemented to appease the disgruntled masses. This paper will attempt through its descriptive approach to answer the perplexing question of to what extent did the Arab Spring influenced behavior of foreign donors’ foreign policy – with special reference to the EU - towards Jordan and its political reforms scheme in particular. To what extent have these forces impacted any genuine governmental attempt to trigger meaningful reform? The research will present at the beginning, the grievances held by the people that led them to call for “reforms”. Then, it examines the role of aid in international politics before examining the role of the EU as an external force in dealing with implications of Arab Spring at regional and at state level (e.g. Jordan) alike. The paper deduced that, shortly in the aftermath of the outbreak of the Arab Spring, the EU was reluctant to make any serious breakthrough in promoting political development towards its southern flank considering its vital interests in the region. Maintaining current political stability status quo option becomes at the expense of “reform option, from the EU foreign policy approach, considering the fear of unseen circumstances if political systems were to be altered, which may accordingly backfire on its interests. A moderate state such as Jordan must be preserved to fulfill the continuation of flow of interests of the EU in the region. In turn, the EU’s assistance was as expected, nothing but cosmetics and lack serious intentions in enforcing reforms such as adopting conditionality aid policy similar to those cases adopted towards central and Eastern Europe and some states in Africa.


the Arab Spring, the European Union, Political Reforms, International Aid

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