European Union's response to the Arab Spring: Building a true pole of influence with all our neighbours
Tribune by António Vitorino published on the occasion of his intervention at the Conference organised by ECFR in Warsaw on 9 November 2011. The President of Notre Europe underlines the need for a new political vision, drawing lessons from the past, but also for the implementation of complementary policies so as to support the economies and the civil societies.
A historic opportunity for the EU
The enlargement policy, amplified by the end of the Cold War, helped give substance to the “EU external policy”: today the Arab Spring must lead to the strengthening of another “pillar” of external action – the neighbourhood policy. This policy – launched several years ago and now the object of a welcome renovation proposed by the European Commission and high representative Catherine Ashton – must allow the EU to adapt its strategic vision to new circumstances.
The EU and its member states must build a new relationship with countries whose people desire change, one based on those people’s aspirations: Europeans must provide moral and material support, combining short-term and strategic projects.
I will underline two major sets of issues in this perspective:
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