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This natural-color satellite image shows the meeting place of Earth's second largest and second smallest continents: Africa and Europe.

Ties with European Union could aid reform after Arab Spring.

Building a European- Mediterranean Community

October 2011, Number 02.04

“The democratic uprisings in North Africa call for a radical shift in the European Union’s approach to Euro-Mediterranean relations. These have traditionally been dominated by economic concerns, founded on the misguided belief that globalization will bring well-being for all if southern countries make their economies attractive to foreign investment. The present upheavals, however, clearly demonstrate that politics and social challenges must be brought to the forefront of EU-Mediterranean relations. The wisdom of the Mediterranean strategy of ignoring political and social dimensions to ensure the good will of authoritarian leaders for the development of concrete (though as yet unrealized) projects is thus called into question. The EU now needs to revise its Mediterranean policy. In order to do so, it needs to build on some good practices of the past and pursue them more consistently.

This should translate, first of all, into prioritizing the citizens’ agenda, which in fact corresponds to the basic principles articulated in the Barcelona Declaration of 1995, in which EU member states and the Southern Mediterranean countries jointly agreed “to develop the rule of law and democracy in their political systems.” This objective was not consistently pursued, however, and this was highlighted in the important debate...”

Excerpt from Álvaro de Vasconcelos, “Building a European-Mediterranean Community,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues  2, No. 4, 2011: 24-29.

Álvaro de Vasconcelos has been director of the European Union Institute for Security Studies since May 2007. Before that, he co-founded and ran the Institute of Strategic and International Studies in Lisbon from 1981 to 2007, where he launched several networks including the Euro-Latin American Forum and EuroMeSCo.As well as being a regular columnist in the Portuguese and international press, he is author and co-editor of books, articles and reports, notably in the areas of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Euro- Mediterranean relations and on the theme of world order. His publications include “Portugal: A European Story” and “A European Strategy for the Mediterranean.”

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.