Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy
Delivered in Plenary - 6th April 2011
the Middle East and North African countries of the Southern Neighbourhood clearly need the EU’s long-term political and – where appropriate – financial support. In countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Libya we should concentrate our efforts on consolidating nascent democratic awakenings into a lasting legacy of stable, secular and enlightened governance.
In Syria, we should be more supportive of democratic opposition to President al-Assad who is clearly no friend of the West, as we have seen from his efforts with North Korea to develop a nuclear weapon and his political support for Iran and for terrorism.
Inevitably, the ongoing turbulence demands a refocusing of ENP priorities towards the South. However, this should not happen at the expense of our partners in the Eastern dimension. Some of those countries have also embarked on a long-term process of democratic transition, openness and reform. It would be perverse to reward them for this progress by denying them the resources and support to maintain their pro-Western trajectory, simply on the basis that the Southern dimension has more acute need of the EU’s attentions now.
On Libya, I strongly support the no-fly zone and the pressing need for regime change. I support recognition of the Transitional National Council and the unfreezing of EU-frozen Gaddafi assets and releasing the money to the Benghazi pro-democracy forces to buy supplies and, yes, even to buy arms. I believe that UN Security Council Resolution 1970 only specifically bans the sale of arms to the Jamahiriya and therefore not to the Benghazi rebels, though unfortunately the EU legislation appears to transpose 1970 incorrectly, with a blanket arms embargo.