The Missing Spring in the EU’s Mediterranean Policies
Haizam Amirah Fernández, Senior Analyst for the Mediterranean and Arab World, Elcano Royal Institute and Timo Behr, Research Associate, Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute —
The changing political and social realities in North Africa and the Middle East, following the antiauthoritarian uprisings that started in Tunisia in late 2010, took Europe’s institutions and governments by surprise. The fall of the wall of fear in Arab societies represents a major challenge, of unknown proportions for Europe, but also an unprecedented opportunity for building a new regional stability based on good governance, inclusive development and mutually beneficial exchanges. The EU responded to these various challenges by launching a major revision of its neighbourhood policies. This represents a clear shift from the EU’s previous policies that, deliberately or not, favoured “authoritarian stability”. While this shift from authoritarian to sustainable stability does represent a long overdue course correction, the EU’s strategic adjustment remains incomplete in many regards. The geopolitics of the Mediterranean region have been altered and the EU risks paying a hefty price in terms of security, influence and access in case it opts for a passive, wait-and-see approach.
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