The events unfolding in our southern neighbourhood are of historic proportions. They reflect a profound transformation process and will have lasting consequences not only for the people and countries of the region but also for the rest of the world and the EU in particular The changes now underway carry the hope of a better life for the people of the region and for greater respect of human rights, pluralism, rule of law and social justice – universal values that we all share. Movement towards full democracy is never an easy path - there are risks and uncertainties associated with these transitions. While acknowledging the difficulties the EU has to take the clear and strategic option of supporting the quest for the principles and values that it cherishes. For these reasons the EU must not be a passive spectator. It needs to support wholeheartedly the wish of the people in our neighbourhood to enjoy the same freedoms that we take as our right. European countries have their own experience of democratic transition. The European Union has a proud tradition of supporting countries in transition from autocratic regimes to democracy, first in the South and more recently in Central and Eastern Europe. While respecting what are primarily internal transformation processes, the EU can offer expertise - that of governments, the European Institutions (European Commission and European Parliament), local and regional authorities, political parties, foundations, trade unions and civil society organizations. There is a shared interest in a democratic, stable, prosperous and peaceful Southern Mediterranean.
This communication from European Union ((COM(2011) 200, Brussels, 03 August 2011),
gives first proposals to build a new partnership to support change in the Southern Mediterranean.
Immediate and short term help should be accompanied by longer term assistance when each country is ready to indicate what it needs from its EU partners.
The European Union in its dual dimension of a community of democratic member states and a union of peoples has had to overcome historical hurdles. This success story was possible when hope triumphed over fear and freedom triumphed over repression. This is why there is deep understanding in the EU for the aspirations of the peoples in the Southern Neighbourhood. The EU wants to support them in building real democracies and peaceful and prosperous societies. Each country and people will of course choose their own path and make their own choices. It is rightly for them to decide and not for us to seek to impose solutions. This Communication underlines the determination of the EU in supporting them on their journey to a better future.
JOINT COMMUNICATION TO THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
Brussels, 8.3.2011, COM(2011) 200