Shada IslamYaleGlobal, 30 May 2003
Extractions from: http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display.article?id=1738
“Despite apparent attempts by the US to lead the world in every way and area, when it comes to northern Africa and the Middle East, the European Union has its own ideas. Europe’s importation of immigrant labor to support its aging population has contributed to a buildup of over 13 million Muslims of Middle Eastern descent across the continent. In the face of continued economic shifts and the changing character of its population, the EU is now reaching out to 10 ‘southern Mediterranean’ states from Morocco to Syria, hoping to induce democratic reforms and political modernization in the region. But a bold new EU plan for “integration and cooperation” is predicated on the peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – something that will take Washington’s active involvement to achieve…” – YaleGlobal
“…European governments are realizing they must forge stronger contacts with nations whose workers are needed to replace the EU’s ageing workforce. Finally, to tackle the “root causes” of extremism, Europe must help Arab countries to become more democratic…”
“This blueprint for a reconfigured EU is simple enough: Europe’s southern neighbors must be allowed to become a part of an EU “area of cooperation and integration,” says Prodi. Unlike countries to Europe’s east, including the Balkan States, which have been promised EU membership, Prodi has made it clear that Europe’s southern neighbors will not have the status of full-fledged EU members. Nonetheless, they can become part of a wider Europe, sharing “everything but institutions” with an expanded EU. This will require that the EU use the same techniques that it utilized successfully to speed up reform in the central and eastern European states…”
“This isn’t the EU’s first attempt to initiate a policy for countries on its southern rim. EU launched a so-called Euro-Mediterranean “partnership” in Barcelona in November 1995 in response to the US-led Middle East peace process. The blueprint focused on building a European-Mediterranean Free Trade Zone, and promoting north-south cultural cooperation. EU governments also provided millions of euros in aid to build the region’s transport, telecommunication, and electricity infrastructure…”
“Despite all the rhetoric, few EU governments have any illusion about their ability to reshape the Middle East. US involvement is critical in ensuring that Israel begins implementing the peace plan it reluctantly accepted last week…”
Our comment: Sometimes we have to listen to those who may feel less than satisfied to get a substantial content.