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The third section focuses on the contents and instruments of the revised ENP and discusses the reasons that led to its Review. The ENP includes countries that are subdivided into two partnerships. In addition, the EMP contribution to intercultural dialogue did not prevent the significant rise of Islamophobia in Europe, while efforts to encourage political and economic reform in MENA countries did not produce the expected results.

Even though candidacy for EU membership was not foreseen, the EU nevertheless emphasized the importance for building communication and shared values related to issues such as security, democracy, human rights, political freedom, and trade liberalization. To achieve its goals, the ENP sought to utilize a range of conditionality-related instruments the use of which was to be guided by the ESS objectives.

Since its launch in , the ENP has evolved considerably, due to a number of radical changes and challenges affecting the neighboring countries in terms of stability, prosperity and security. According to the EES b, 4 threats to the EU may emerge as the result of regional conflicts which could lead to extremism, terrorism, state failure, organized crime, weapons of mass destruction WMD proliferation and refugee and immigration flows. Violent or frozen conflicts and problems such as those in the Middle East were thus viewed as having the potential of impacting European interests and security directly and indirectly.

Particularly, bad governance — reflected in corruption, abuse of power, weak or collapsed institutions and lack of accountability — was regarded as a key threat to EU security ESS b, 4. Therefore, spreading good governance, supporting social and political reform, dealing with corruption and abuse of power, establishing the rule of law and protecting human rights were viewed by the EU as the best means for increasing European security.


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The policy was designed to prevent the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbors and to offer them the chance to participate in various EU activities, through greater political, security, economic and cultural cooperation EC , 3. The method proposed to achieve the ENP objective was that the EU would work together with its MENA partners to define a set of priorities whose fulfillment would bring them closer to the European Union. However, the ENP was designed to reinforce existing forms of regional and sub-regional cooperation and provide a framework for their further development.

Specifically, in regard to the MENA region, the ENP sought to further regional integration by building on the EMP achievements, notably in the area of trade, and invited the MENA countries to promote infrastructure interconnections and networks, as well as develop new forms of cooperation with their neighbors EC , 4.

European Foreign Affairs Review

Thus, the proposed Action Plans were to be defined by common consent and they would vary from country to country, while their success was dependent on the clear recognition of mutual interests in addressing a set of priority issues. In the ENP framework, the EU sought to use financial and diplomatic means to ensure that there was a move towards democratization and market liberalization in its MENA neighbors. In other words, the EU intended to use a strategy of positive reinforcement where the reward for desired behavior was financial assistance.

Although human rights, democracy promotion, and conflict resolution were central to the ENP, there was a significant discrepancy between EU rhetoric and practice. This led the Arab world to think that the EU was simply interested in exporting its institutional model and value system. Then the outbreak of the Arab Spring in not only took the EU by surprise and added to the contestation of the EU norms, values and practices but also dispelled many myths circulating in Europe, such as that the Arabs were not interested in, concerned by or prepared for democracy; that pro-Western dictators are better bets than the Islamist alternative; that the Arab World was a fiction and that the cross-border appeal of Arab identity had waned; and that authoritarian regimes are unshakable Khader , 33— Instead the Arab Spring demonstrated that the Arab public opinion is diversified and rational, that there have always been forces for change in the MENA region and that there is a vibrant civil society in spite of all forms of coercive state control.

MENA countries advancing political reforms are offered additional elements of market access and a greater share of the EU financial support. However, it is questionable whether MENA countries were ready or willing to accept and fully implement external prescriptions, even in exchange for reward. How could a new approach to old problems be adopted without being open to the input of those concerned? This support was deemed essential since it would enable civil society organizations to voice concerns, contribute to policy making, hold governments accountable, and ensure that economic growth is geared towards poverty alleviation and inclusive growth.

The Civil Society Facility proposal, however, was met with skepticism by Arab civil society organizations as in the recent past EU-allocated financial support was insufficient, bureaucratic hurdles discouraging and disbursement very slow. Moreover, the selection of civil society organizations to be funded has often been inadequate and sometimes arbitrary as the EU engaged more with civil society organizations perceived more agreeable and acceptable than others with a real social base Khader , Thus, the EU was criticized for taking the driving seat thereby delegitimizing a transition led by the people and for not being interested in more transparency in the relations between external donors and local actors.

The European Endowment for Democracy instrument seeks to promote the creation of civil society organizations and provide assistance to trade unions and other social actors, such as non-registered non-governmental organizations EC b, 4. In other words, the DCFTAs go beyond strictly trade-related matters and imply serious domestic change to achieve the necessary convergence.

In fact, this has been the experience in the MENA countries since the imposition of the structural adjustment programs by the International Monetary Fund where hastily imposed privatization transformed plan economies into clan economies Khader , Yet, MENA countries, which are in democratic transition are facing significant economic challenges. Thus, their first priority is to put their economies in order and address urgent questions of poverty and development.

Another suggestion is that the EU should promote regional integration as a way to increase trade volume. Furthermore, for MENA countries, the search for more equitable economic relations is more urgent than mere liberalization policies. In this respect, assistance programs are expected to be put in place to bolster competitiveness, innovation and knowledge technology. The ENI was designed to further strengthen certain key features of the former ENPI, notably greater differentiation between countries based on progress with reforms.

The ENI funds are channeled through bilateral programs, as well as multi-country and cross-border cooperation programs. First, these values are, in theory, already shared and form the basis for developing relations with MENA countries Cremona , Consequently, views between the EU and the MENA countries have differed in reference to what kind of democracy or market economy should be promoted.


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The program contributes to the capacity building of civil society organizations, so that they can better advance the democratic development in the country. Recognizing the differences between partners and reflecting the needs of each country concerning the priority areas of its partnership with the EU, the recent ENP shifts away from a regionalist approach to bilateralism and promises even greater differentiation and localism than was already the case in past versions.

Edited Special Issues

The EU acknowledges the limitation to its leverage and limits its role to creating the conditions for positive development. The EU has been juggling with its normative aspirations and realist interests but hardly corresponding to the needs and expectations of the partner societies. The external promotion of democracy cannot lay the groundwork for the European liberal democratic model through socialization and diffusion mechanisms.

Nor does it create vibrant domestic civil society, stimulate new agendas or reframe local struggles. The Arab uprising proved that popular movements could change the status quo. This behooves the EU to regularly interrogate the contextual sources of democratic legitimacy and continually engage with the plight of societal groups pursuing their basic rights and freedom. Adherence to the principle of public inclusivity as part and parcel of EU dialogue about the future of democracy highlights the importance of the underlying ideals of mutual respect and exemplifies the merits of democratic norms in practice.

Supporting civil society groups and offering deliberative space for them can go in tandem with inter-governmental relations with the Southern neighborhood. The inclusion principle does not entail acceptance; the principle merely promises that different and opposing political viewpoints can be exposed freely and equally. The new logic of solidarity action aims at asserting the priority of the domestic sources of political legitimacy over any stability concerns as the LoC emphasizes , encouraging a nonlinear perception of democratic development, and highlighting the importance of time and the didactic dimension what the LoA lacks.

The logic of solidarity is predicated on a nonlinear perception of democratic progression and preparation for extra-institutional actions. External players must come to terms with the fact that democratic transition may not always be linear and that civic actors may choose to engage in nonviolent, extra-systemic tactics to advance socio-political change. At the same time, popular movements in the MENA have shown that contentious practices do not straightforwardly lead to clear political transformation and the restoration of stability.

As contentious means entail the potential eruption of violence, especially if the rebels have acute cumulative grievances, international actors can minimize the risk of violent instability by investing in capacity-building and training programs to maintain nonviolent discipline and maximize resilience. A nonfinancial aid approach and developing an effective learning environment using a range of historical exemplar cases would be more credible for capacity building that helps peer-to-peer learning and mentoring than institutionally-oriented training.

Examples cannot be thought of as mere exemplifications of certain courses of action. They instead offer a space for reflective judgment and serve as premises of arguments in the domain of public reason that would trigger change.

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The crushing of the Arab Spring revived scholarly debates about the cultural preconditions for democracy that make authoritarian rule so intractable in the MENA region. Those debates would do well to take heed of the Latin American example and the scholarship it generated during the last decades of the twentieth century.

Scholarship on the region concluded that authoritarianism was, if not inevitable, at least the normal pattern of governance in Latin American societies. The parallels to more recent literature on the resilience or robustness of authoritarian rule in the Arab world are remarkable. Drawing parallels between the position of the radical left in Latin America during the s that polarized societies and led to the establishment of highly repressive authoritarian regimes on the one hand, and the role of radical Islamists in the Middle East on the other, could help civil society groups to reflect on their educative role and to shape their future agenda.

This analogy would offer a reflective space for social forces in partner societies to mull over the existing transition predicament and redefine their tasks to embark on a didactic project that enables tolerance, pluralism and inclusiveness. The Arab uprisings caught the EU by surprise, limiting its capacity to see through the uncertain democratic trajectory and to put together a realistic political response. Consequently, the Union has responded to the Arab Spring with a broad range of tools, from claiming a normative role, offering humanitarian assistance and revising some modalities of long-term programmatic policies.

The EU initially issued a new ENP in based on three pillars: deepening democracy, economic development, and people-to-people contacts.

However, deepening democracy did not withstand the test of implementation. Assisting civil society actors whose structures and dynamics are unfamiliar to donors and might involve confrontational campaign tactics is challenging. The challenges are more serious when citizens are mobilized to encounter the abuses of governments that are allies of major foreign aid providers. These realities in a variety of different contexts throughout the region rendered the new ENP strategic orientation of democracy promotion untenable. That is, decision-makers in Brussels have shifted away from the LoA that was the cornerstone of the ENP version of toward a LoC that heightens security concerns amid the state of crisis flooding the region with the rise of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

The EU has awakened its security interests and returned to stability as the most preferable rational choice in the Mediterranean region at the expense of newly volatile democracy. The logic of solidarity brings time dimension into the analysis and bridges the dichotomous choice between the two other logics i. LoC and LoA. The Logic of Solidarity is seen here as one of several constraints within which both dynamics of consequentiality and appropriateness operate.

Therefore, the EU may refine its decisions contingent upon the local dynamics in partner countries by didactically offering inclusive programs, reflexively investigating probable choices on non-members and preemptively adapting to them. Abdelrahman , M.

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