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A Changing Mediterranean: Regional Organisations and North Africa during the Arab Spring


This article discusses the role played by the European Union, African Union and Arab League in the recent revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. It focuses in particular on the use and impact of political and economic conditionality, the decision-making processes within each organisation and the inter-regional forums created to deal with the crisis. The analysis acknowledges the increasingly active and vocal role played by regional organisations in the so-called 'Arab spring', but it highlights not just that they had few legal powers to intervene in these crises, but also that they seemed very reluctant to use any form of political or economic conditionality. It also reveals that the main purpose of inter-regional forums was arguably not to generate consensus internationally but rather to manage dissent. As such, the article encourages a reflection on the specific challenges and opportunities that North Africa and the Mediterranean region pose to regional conflict management.
Keywords: Arab spring, North Africa, conditionality, regional organisations, intervention