WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE EU’S ‘SCIENCE DIPLOMACY’? THE LONG MISSION OF EFFECTIVE EU-MEDITERRANEAN COOPERATION IN SCIENCE AND RESEARCH
Across the policy discourse and academic literature, the popularity of the concept of ‘science diplomacy’ has overshadowed its utility. This article challenges the portrayal of ‘science diplomacy’ as a straightforward strategy through the examination of the foreign policy-scientific cooperation nexus in the EU-Southern Mediterranean neighbourhood. Through a policy documents analysis, the article traces the development of the external dimension of the EU’s science policy, i.e. the shaping of the EU’s science policy beyond its borders, and the inclusion of science into its foreign policy agenda in the South Mediterranean. The analysis reveals that the EU’s enthusiasm for ‘science diplomacy’ can be related to the EU’s internal political goals, rather than any significant change in the policy objectives or policy tools. Moreover, a strong cooperation in science and research between the EU and its Mediterranean neighbours was contingent on friendly relations, rather than capable of improving conflicts and tensions. The conclusion suggests to focus on building the practical (civilian) impact of genuine scientific cooperation in the aftermath of an uncritical promotion of ‘science diplomacy’.