EU Action to Strengthen Respect for Human Rights and Democracy in the Process of Political Changes in the Middle East and North Africa

04-12-2012

This report evaluates the EU’s action to strengthen respect for human rights and democracy in North Africa and the Middle East. Assessing the EU’s changing institutional context since the Lisbon Treaty, it examines the major policy initiatives of 2011 in response to the events of the Arab Spring. The Arab Spring illustrated the limitations of the ‘stability versus human rights’ paradigm, and prompted the EU to promise that support for human rights and democracy would be central to its relations with the MENA-region. Such rhetoric must be matched by detailed action plans which incorporate the promotion of such values. As shown in the four case studies conducted for this report, laudable policy declarations must be implemented not only by tangible increases in budget lines, but also by concrete policy-structures capable of acting forcefully against human rights violations. The appointment of a Special Representative for Human Rights and the creation of the EED and CSF have the potential to achieve such goals, although the exact nature of these initiatives still need to be determined. This report recommends the EU to resolve its internal differences with regards to the region, to intensify its relations with other MENA partners, and suggests ways of enhancing the effectiveness of its policy.

This report evaluates the EU’s action to strengthen respect for human rights and democracy in North Africa and the Middle East. Assessing the EU’s changing institutional context since the Lisbon Treaty, it examines the major policy initiatives of 2011 in response to the events of the Arab Spring. The Arab Spring illustrated the limitations of the ‘stability versus human rights’ paradigm, and prompted the EU to promise that support for human rights and democracy would be central to its relations with the MENA-region. Such rhetoric must be matched by detailed action plans which incorporate the promotion of such values. As shown in the four case studies conducted for this report, laudable policy declarations must be implemented not only by tangible increases in budget lines, but also by concrete policy-structures capable of acting forcefully against human rights violations. The appointment of a Special Representative for Human Rights and the creation of the EED and CSF have the potential to achieve such goals, although the exact nature of these initiatives still need to be determined. This report recommends the EU to resolve its internal differences with regards to the region, to intensify its relations with other MENA partners, and suggests ways of enhancing the effectiveness of its policy.

Externí autor

Richard YOUNGS and Hélène MICHOU (Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior - FRIDE, Spain) , Case studies : Kristina KAUSCH (Egypt) , Barah MIKAIL (Tunisia) , Hélène MICHOU (Syria) and Ana ECHAGUE (Yemen)