This article reviews EU’s mediation attempts in Egypt between 2011 and 2013. After presenting the main challenges and opportunities of EU mediation in the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) neighborhood, EU interventions in Egypt are discussed in relation to the 25 January 2011 revolution, during the presidency of Mohammed Morsi, and after the 3 July 2013 coup d’état, focusing specifically on the choice of mediation styles and their timing. It is argued that three contextual conditions that are typical of the crises that erupt during failed democratic transitions – their fast pace, their eminently domestic nature and significant power asymmetries between the main parties involved – exacerbate the structural problems that the EU faces when intervening in countries that are not current or potential candidates for accession. The analysis of EU mediation styles during Egypt’s transition provides a critical perspective on EU’s foreign policy making after the Treaty of Lisbon.
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