The public uprisings that have been sweeping across the Arab region since January 2011 represent a critical juncture in the history of the region as well as in international history at large. With major change of leadership taking place in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya,other Arab countries – Yemen, Bahrain and Syria – are still struggling to introduce similar changes. From a comparative perspective, these ongoing uprisings in the Arab region raise the question on how comparable they could be to similar events in international history, e.g. the revolutions across Europe in the 19th century or those in Central Eastern Europe in 1989-1990.
These rapid developments in the Arab region bring back to the forefront of Western-Arab relations the interconnected political, economic and social dimensions of Euro-Arab relations in the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP). Not surprisingly that the EU has quickly, in February 2011, started to consider a fundamental review of the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) and released a new and more ambitious one in May 2011.
This workshop focuses on the debate regarding the Euro-Arab relations and how the EU can effectively reinvent its role amid challenging security, political, economic and social contexts.The area of concern in this workshop is not limited to the EU’s Southern Mediterranean partners, but encompasses the wider Arab Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
The following list of sub-topics represents main strands of discussion. The workshop focuses on the role of Europe in the region, from a variety of security, economic, political or socio-cultural perspectives. Paper proposalsare expected to combine academic analysis with policy oriented recommendations.
1. The EU and the Arab uprisings:
Comparing ”success” and “failures”: How are the developments in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya to be evaluated, as compared to Yemen, Bahrain, or Syria? What are the prospects for democratic transitions in light of the recent elections in Tunisia and Egypt?
How can the EU help these countries in their current transitional phase? To what extent can the EU make use of its expertise in democracy and development assistance in the Arab region?
How can the EU rethink its relationship with other Arab countries that are trying to maintain the status quo? (The Gulf Cooperation Council countries)
How applicable are the lessons learned from the EU experience in Central and Eastern Europe to the West Mediterranean as well as its experience in the Eastern partners of the ENP?
2.Assessing the political, economic, and security scene in the Mediterranean:
Which security challenges emanate from the “new” Middle East, and how should the EU deal with them? Does the EU need a new approach toward the Israeli-Palestine conflict?
The EU and other Powers in the MENA region: How do EU-US relations and EU-Turkish relations affect the MENA region, and what are the prospects for conflict and cooperation?
How important is the economic aspect in the relation between the EU and the Southern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Partners?
What are the major lessons learned from the failure of EU democracy promotion policies in the Southern Neighborhood so far? How should the ENP be reconstructed?
The workshop aims at a collective publication, either as a special issue or a volume edited by the workshop organizers. The workshop is funded by the Kolleg Forschergruppe (KFG) "The Transformative Power of Europe" of the Freie Universität Berlin, which pays for travel expenses as well as accommodation of the paper authors.
Interested colleagues are asked to send a 500-1000 word abstract to Dr. Sally Khalifa Isaac (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr. Assem Dandashly (email@example.com) no later than January 31, 2012. Notifications will be sent out no later than February 28, 2012. Invited paper givers need to finalize their papers by May 15, 2012 and present it at the workshop in Berlin on 8 and 9 June 2012.