Tribune by António Vitorino published on the occasion of his intervention at the Conference organised by ECFR in Warsaw on 9 November 2011. The President of Notre Europe underlines the need for a new political vision, drawing lessons from the past, but also for the implementation of complementary policies so as to support the economies and the civil societies.
A historic opportunity for the EU
The Arab awakening and ongoing uprisings have surprised and unnerved Europe’s leaders. Like recent events in Eastern Europe, they have spurred the European Union to examine possible strategies to adopt vis-à-vis its neighbours. As of today it is not yet totally clear that the EU has fully managed to raise its game so as to be equal to the events in progress.
The enlargement policy, amplified by the end of the Cold War, helped give substance to the “EU external policy”: today the Arab Spring must lead to the strengthening of another “pillar” of external action – the neighbourhood policy. This policy – launched several years ago and now the object of a welcome renovation proposed by the European Commission and high representative Catherine Ashton – must allow the EU to adapt its strategic vision to new circumstances.
The EU and its member states must build a new relationship with countries whose people desire change, one based on those people’s aspirations: Europeans must provide moral and material support, combining short-term and strategic projects.
I will underline two major sets of issues in this perspective:
The need for a new political vision, drawing lessons from the past;
The implementation of complementary policies so as to support the economies and the civil societies.
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Tribune also published in Public Service Europe and Regards Citoyens