Europe’s Silence

Much attention has been devoted to the difficulty of the US administration to deal with rapidly changing events in Tunisia and Egypt. However, the European Union has been equally struggling in endorsing the popular demand for reform and democracy in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere in the region. While Europe might have less of a military investment in the region, the repercussions of instability in the Middle East might be more direct–beginning with potential refugee flows. At the same time, more than half of the EU experienced democratic revolutions in during the past generation: Not only the countries of Central Europe, but also Southern Europe (Portugal, Spain, Greece) saw the ouster of dictatorships governing in the name of stability in the past 35 years. The countries can be a model for the Middle East and while overthrowing tested and tried dictators always brings with it uncertainty, the European Union at its core should understand the demands of citizens in the Middle East for greater rights and democracy.

It is thus a great pity, that the EU has not seized the moment to support the pro-democracy movements in the region more vocally. Sharing the know how and the advantage of democracy and the rule of law are after all the greatest export the EU can offer.

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