Reversing the Hierarchy of Priorities in EU-Mediterranean Relations
Title: Reversing the Hierarchy of Priorities in EU-Mediterranean Relations
Author: CASSARINO, Jean-Pierre
Citation: Joel PETERS (ed.), The European Union and the Arab Spring: Promoting democracy and human rights in the Middle East, New York/Lanham, Lexington Books, 2012, 1-16
ISBN: 978-0739174432; 978-0-7391-7445-6; 978-0-7391-7444-9
Respect for human rights and democratic principles have been regularly cited as an “essential element” of cooperation and relations between the European Union (EU) and non-EU countries in the Mediterranean. Since the 1990s onwards, numerous communications from the European Commission (EC) have stressed the need to integrate the so-called “essential-element” clause into the various agreements concluded with Mediterranean non-EU countries. When concluding their association agreements with the European Union, Mediterranean countries agreed to respect the “essential-element” clause. When the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) was introduced in 2004, the promotion of democracy and respect for human rights were presented as core values shaping the EU’s external action in non-EU countries. Despite the clear objectives mentioned in the ENP action plans, and the numerous dialogues designed to raise awareness of the need for democratic reforms and human rights, the promotion of democracy in Mediterranean non-EU countries has been, by all accounts, the least effective chapter of Euro-Med cooperation. This lack of commitment has been denounced by various human rights organizations and associations. Likewise, the European Commission (EC) recognized on various occasions its failure in promoting the observance of human rights. This essay investigates how “essential” the human rights component has been compared with the diverse priorities contained in the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP). It sets out to demonstrate that a subtle hierarchy of priorities has shaped EU policy options and perceptions making progress on human rights and democratization an issue of concern, but, at the same time, a dismissible priority in Euro-Mediterranean relations.
Files in this item
There are no files associated with this item.