Democracy promotion in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) remains a central pillar of the foreign policy the European Union (EU). Rather than concentrating on the relations between the incumbent authoritarian regimes and the opposition in the relevant countries, and on the degree to which these relations are affected by EU efforts at promoting democracy, human rights and the rule of law (an outside-in approach), this collection of articles inverts the focus of such relationships and attempts to look at them 'inside-out'. While some contributions also emphasise the 'outside-in' axis, given that this continues to be analytically rewarding, the overarching thrust of this book is to provide some empirical substance for the claim that EU policy making is not unidirectional and is influenced by the perceptions and actions of its 'targets'. Thus, the focus is on domestic political changes on the ground in the MENA and how they link into what the EU is attempting to achieve in the region. Finally, the self-representation of the EU and its (lack of a) clear regional role is discussed.This book was published as a special issue of Democratization.