EU and the "Arab Spring"

The Legal Framework Governing Relations Between the EU and the Mediterranean Region

The first session of the conference will focus on describing and analysing the available legal framework within which EU-relations with its neighbours around the Mediterranean take place. The ENP is part of this framework, but it is not the only aspect. Article 8 of the TEU sets out that the EU shall develop a “special relationship with its neighbouring countries”. Professor Per Cramér will give us his view on how to understand this duty on the EU. Professor Haluk Kabaalioglu will give a presentation centred on a Turkish perspective on the EU external relations with the states in the Mediterranean region. Building on vast experience of Turkish-EU relations, Professor Kabaalioglu poses the question of what Turkey’s role would be as a future member state of the EU. Dr. Johan Lindholm and Dr. Mattias Derlén will take a closer look at the structure and organization of the ECJ’s case law on agreements with neighbouring states.

Understanding the “Arab Spring”

The second session of the conference aims at shedding light on the phenomenon commonly referred to as the “Arab Spring”.

On the 27th of February, Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down after 33 years in power. This decision made him the fourth leader of an Arab nation, following El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, Mubarak in Egypt and Gaddafi in Libya to relinquish power following civil uprisings since December 2010. Uprisings and mass protests have also

broken out in Bahrain, Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman and minor protests have occurred in Lebanon, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Western Sahara. In Syria, the mass protests have led to what many consider to be a full-scale internal armed conflict and a threat to international peace and security. Of the 17 States mentioned above, 8 (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan) are neighbours of the EU participating in the European Neighbourhood Policy, as do Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

In an attempt to improve our contextual understanding of the reality in which law will be applied, this session transcends disciplinary boundaries as we probe historians as well as political scientists to give their respective accounts of disciplinary perspectives on current events. Professor Ahmad Feroz will explore the root causes of the “Arab Spring” taking his point of departure in modern historic events. Dr. Ann-Kristin Jonasson will focus her presentation on how common values are constructed in the dialogue between the EU and member states of the ENP, with special focus on the relations between the EU and Jordan. Dr Vehbi Baysan will bring the discussion on the “Arab Spring” back to the present, and maybe even give a glimpse of the future, with an update on the current situation in Syria.

What has the “Arab Spring” meant for EU External Relations towards the Mediterranean?

The third session of this conference aims at drawing tentative conclusions from the experience and knowledge brought to light during the first two sessions. What has “the Arab Spring” meant for EU external relations with the states in the Mediterranean? Can we see effects on our common understanding of Human rights and shared

values? How about effects on migration? What about trade between the region and the EU?

Alar Olljum will address “the Arab Spring” as a representative for the EEAS. He will give a presentation on the EU's general approach and political response to the "Arab Spring", with reference to the revised ENP and new partnerships with the countries of the Southern Mediterranean. Hopefully, Mr. Olljum will be able to include the results of the new joint communication on the ENP expected later this spring. Dr Michelle Pace will focus on the aspect of EU Democracy Support in the newly emerging Middle East and North Africa arguing that a new approach is required in order to ensure success. Professor Frank Emmert will share his views on what “the Arab Spring” has meant for the EU, building on experience gathered working for an American university in Cairo.