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Supporting the Transitions in North Africa: The Case for a Joined-Up Approach


The EU's response to the Arab Spring is seen as one of its biggest missed opportunities. It has been unable to bring together its different tools of foreign, development and security policy into a strategic joined-up approach. The interconnectedness of the socio-economic and political demands of the popular uprisings across the north of Africa represented a unique opportunity to implement such a joined-up approach. The EU's ambitious rhetoric and pledges to promote 'deep democracy' have not been matched at policy level in the fields of money, market or mobility. Whilst certain member states have sought to overcome the different operating logics of the development, diplomatic and security communities in their regional Arab Partnership programmes, a number of structural and circumstantial factors limit the effectiveness of these attempts, at both the EU and member state level.

Keywords: Arab Spring, EU foreign policy, joined-up approach, development