Arab Spring, EU and CEE after the Cold War

Read few comments.

Michael Bauer, Research Fellow, Head of Middle East Programme, Center for Applied Policy Research

1. The revised European Neighbourhood Policy certainly offers a lot of potential to enhance the cooperation between the EU and its southern neighbours. However, it remains to be seen if the EU really follows up on what it has been proclaimed. When it comes to mobility partnerships and opening up of markets I am not too optimistic (given the situation in Europe)

One of the failures certainly was the close cooperation with regional despots like Mubarak and BenAli; the EU confused stagnation with stability and focussed too much on counterterrorism and stopping migration. Normative considerations were neglected (and I think Europeans should have known better…)

2. Certainly there are some lessons to be learnt from other transformation processes (not just from CEE after the Cold War) for instance that the socioeconomic conditions often worsen as a result of the break down even of a malfunctioning regime; but I think an important difference between CEE and MENA is that the CEE countries had a clear perspective: they are part of Europe and could become members of the EU. In a way this was a strong incentives for a transition to market economy and democracy. This perspective of becoming member of the does not exist for the MENA region.


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