Turmoil and social unrest in the Arab world are entering their fourth year. Many of the issues that triggered the “Arabellion” remain unresolved, some even worsened and the region continues to be split by tensions between Sunni and Shia, secular liberals and islamists, and governments and civil society. Dr. Saleh Rusheidat, former Member of the Jordanian Senate and Beshir Abdel-Fatah, Editor-in-Chief at Al-Ahram Foundation took stock of the situation in the Arab world. Alar Olljum, Adivsor to the Managing Director for North Africa, Middle East, Arabian Peninsula, Iran & Iraq at the European External Action Service, completed the picture with the EU’s perspective. Continue reading
In July the European External Action Service (EEAS) published the long-awaited review of its two-year existence. Frank, self-scrutinizing and with a foreword by High Representative Lady Catherine Ashton herself, the performance review is no self-flattery, but an honest assessment of the services’ achievements, shortcomings and lessons learned.
The panel, organized by FNF to give voice to both the recognition of Ashton’s achievements and the critique of EEAS’ shortcomings, was full of praise for the High Representative. Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroek MEP began her remarks by pointing out that the notion of an “EU Foreign Policy” was not envisioned by the European Communities from the outset but first mentioned in the Maastricht Treaty. Thus, we shouldn’t lose sight of just how young this idea is. She further praised Ashton, who “has accomplished a remarkable feat by setting up a functioning service in under a year.” Continue reading