Time to Overhaul the European Union’s Role in North Africa


For decades, the European Union (EU) has focused its policy in North Africa on economic and political development, driven by immigration and security concerns. However, the Jasmine Revolution—the series of protests in Tunisia sparked by economic concerns that brought down the country’s president—make clear that many fundamental challenges remain unaddressed in the Arab world, even in a country previously considered by many to be the region’s most advanced. Tunisia’s uprising—as well as the possibility that such unrest will spread to other countries, such as Egypt—has focused international attention on the issues of social inclusion and economic development in the region. Much of the work required must be done by the North African countries themselves, but the EU can make a difference by developing North Africa’s private sector and accelerating the dismantling of its own agricultural protectionism.