Since December 2010, people power revolutions have swept across EU partner countries in the Mediterranean neighborhood. The Arab Spring disproved the idea of “Arab exceptionalism” and reenergized the West’s democracy-promotion agenda. The EU's responses are designed for the Mediterranean region as a whole and do not take into account the diverse pathways that the Arab Spring has taken in the partner countries, as well as the different challenges they are facing now. To contrast two extremes, a socially homogeneous country like Tunisia, which seems to be embarked on transition to democracy and holds an economic frontrunner position, can benefit from a much more ambitious democracy-building program than Libya, which has gone through a civil war and needs to engage in state-building first. In order to seize the moment and promote democracy successfully, the EU needs to factor in the diverse needs of each partner country and respond with tailor-made strategies.
Washington, German Marshall Fund of the United States, 2012, 3 p.