The Arab Spring and Europealt39s turn

FPJ BureauUpdated: Sunday, June 02, 2019, 09:01 AM IST
article-image

The link between security, democracy, and human development needs to be restored

Europe should shift its focus on immigration and security back to policies that reflect the original objectives of the Barcelona Declaration.

The World in Words

Ana Palacio

NEW HAVEN – until now, and with few exceptions, the West has nurtured two distinct communities of foreign- policy specialists: the development community and the democratic community. More often than not, they have had little or no connection with one another: development specialists dealt comfortably with dictatorships and democracies alike, believing that prosperity can best be created by concentrating exclusively on economic issues and institutions.

The consequences of this approach have a special resonance in the Arab world today. But, as the recent United Nations Security Council debates on the Arab Spring have shown, it is not the major emerging countries that will influence events in the region. Brazil has barely uttered a word in reaction to the regions tumult, while Russia and China have little taste for sanctions against Libya in light of their own autocratic governments.

All of this adds up to a unique opportunity for the European Union to support its neighborsalt39 transition from revolutionary upheaval to democratic government.

At the same time, we need to promote the progress of other regimes in the region toward inclusive democracy.

Indeed, the EU is their natural partner in this endeavor.

Since the launch of the Barcelona Process in 1995, EU Mediterranean policy has been criticized for not linking financial aid to democratic reform, and for giving priority to European concerns like immigration, security, and cooperation on counter- terrorism. At the same time, EU policy has sidelined clear southern priorities, like opening up Europealt39s agriculture and textile markets. The result is that the vision of the official Euro- Mediterranean Policy ( EMP) has lagged far behind its original goals.

Europe should shift its focus on immigration and security back to policies that reflect the original objectives of the Barcelona Declaration. The EMPalt39s central goals were to advance a ‘ comprehensive partnershipalt39 and political reform, and to create ‘ a common area of peace and stability, together with a Euro- Mediterranean free- trade area.

Moreover, the associated MEDA funding mechanism crucially and specifically included the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights. This link between security, democracy, and human development has since been broken and needs to be restored through investment in good governance, regional development, and education.

The EMP evolved in 2004 into the European Neighborhood Policy framework, and in 2007, the European Neighborhood Policy Instrument ( ENPI) replaced MEDA as the EUalt39s main financing mechanism for Euro- Mediterranean policy. This put human rights funding into the National Indicative Program ( NIP), which encompasses 17 countries: ten in the south and seven in Eastern Europe. Although good governance and human rights remained among the ENPalt39s proclaimed goals, official communications of the European Commission show that it emphasized security and border control.

When the EMP was ‘ re- launchedalt39 in 2008 under the newly established Union for the Mediterranean ( UfM) to give it greater political emphasis, the result was an exercise in ‘ realismalt39that further weakened the original EMP. And, for all its high- flown language, the UfM is an empty shell. This is partly due to unfortunate timing: the UfMalt39s launch coincided with the outbreak of the Gaza War and became entangled in the complexities of Arab- Israeli relations. But the initiative also failed to gain momentum among political leaders.

To implement the far- reaching vision of the Barcelona Process, the ENP will have to revisit the way it distributes its financial support, rebalance the funding that it provide

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

Independence Day 2022: From Medha Patkar to Sunderlal Bahuguna, know about India’s climate...

Independence Day 2022: From Medha Patkar to Sunderlal Bahuguna, know about India’s climate...

Mumbai blog: Metro 3 Aarey depot speeding to April 2023 deadline

Mumbai blog: Metro 3 Aarey depot speeding to April 2023 deadline

Assam: Seven college students suspended over viral hugging video

Assam: Seven college students suspended over viral hugging video

Raju Srivastava Health Update: Comedian remains on ventilator

Raju Srivastava Health Update: Comedian remains on ventilator

Amit Burman, the head of Dabur India, steps down

Amit Burman, the head of Dabur India, steps down