“Past and Future Problem of Cross-Mediterranean Relation: A European Perspective”


Dr. Beck demonstrated the European approach towards the Middle East after World War II, which was perceived as an imperialist power until the 1950/60’s. After WWII Europe’s role as an imperialist power underwent a drastic change. For instance, during the Suez crisis (also known as the Tripartite Aggression) of 1956 France, Israel and Britain invaded Egypt. However the war ended with the intervention of the new superpowers, the US and the Soviet Union, and this left both France and Britain powerless. As a result the U.S began to encroach its power in the Middle East and began to shape the politics of the region, especially through providing aid to these countries. In the 1970’s the US promoted peace between Egypt and Israel in what was known as the Camp David Accords, which according to Dr. Beck had a tremendous influence in terminating the previous East/West conflict. During this time, Israel was a major US alley and recipient of American arms and finical aid. Thus Europe began to focus on the notion  soft power, for instance in the declaration of the Venice summit in 1980 Europeans stated that the PLO should be included in the peace negotiations, and called for Palestinian self determination.

He then illustrates why EU policies towards the Middle East did not match the ideals of a civilian power until the Arab Spring. Ever since the defeat of Europe in the Tripartite Aggression in 1956, the EU became more occupied with its domestic problems. He also indicated that  Europeans weren’t prepared for the Arab spring. He also emphasized that the EU will improve its role as a civilian power in the light of the Arab spring, particularly with the declining role of the U.S in the Middle East. However the democratization of these  Arab nations would eventually got through a transition process which is a difficult long term process. Later on he gives indicators that the EU is going to fail to act as a civilian power in the Middle East, because there is no real commitment to recognize Islamists governments, failure to recognize Palestine as a state and due to the unsolved problems of the past.

Thursday, November 3, 2011 - 11