Euromed: Study reports UfM failure of action in Arab Spring

18 June, 18:11

(ANSAmed) - MADRID, JUNE 18 - The Union for the Mediterranean still hasn't replied to the expectations for an active role in contributing to the stability and progress in the region and for its action during 2011, the year of the Arab Spring, considered overall to be quite insufficient. The information has been presented by Euromed, commissioned by the European Commission at the European Institute for the Mediterranean (IEMed), which reflects the opinion of 700 experts and political figures of the two sides of the Mediterranean about the Arab Spring, the successes and the lack of EU politics in the region, plus the challenges and future scenarios envisaged. The results, made available by sources inside IEMed, together with the Mediterranean Annual Report 2011, have been presented to the European Parliament during a session presided by the European Commissioner for the Enlargement and European Neighbouring Politics, Stefan Fule, to which also the Euro MP Salvador Sedò and the Director General of IEMed Andreu Bassols took part in.

93% of those interviewed, between December 2011 and January 2012, asked for a greater role of the EU in solving conflicts in the region. The Euromed inquiry, in its third edition, printed in English, French, Spanish, Catalan and Arab, highlights that the UfM is seen as an institution which has great potential to contribute to the stability and the development in the Mediterranean by most of the people interviewed (5.2 out of 10) although its action during 2011 has been rated negatively, with a result of 3.8 out of 10. Also significant is the support given to the majority of the members of the northern presidency of the UfM, which in March last year substituted the French one. Also, many experts said they were favourable to the creation of a European financial instrument for countries in the South Mediterranean.

As far as the opinion on the Arab Spring, the survey's results indicate that Turkey is identified as the most active country, in front of the U.S.A. and Europe. And they highlight the perception of a difference in approach coming from the EU each time it is the moment to take action in the areas affected by revolts, according also to the type of country. On a general level, both the changes in the political scene and the financial response to the Arab Spring countries is indeed judged very positively. In particular, the Spring programme and other initiatives to improve employment and rural development, access to drinkable water, health systems and education.

However, the expectations for swift resolution to end the conflicts in the region are extremely low (between 2-4 out of 10), according to experts, political actors, institutional, diplomatic, NGO members, entrepreneurs, journalists and unionists interviewed all over the Mediterranean. (ANSAmed).

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