The reshaped civic politics of euro-mediterranean relations

In his qualitive analysis for the 10th Euromed Survey,  Richard Youngs (senior fellow, Democracy, Conflict and Governance Program. Carnegie Europe – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) analyses the key policy changes that will have a significant impact on the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) civil society.

Nawal Benaissa (C) of the grassroots Al-Hirak Al-Shaabi movement shouts during a protest against official abuses and corruption in the town of Al-Hoceima, Morocco June 3, 2017. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

These are some ideas of his analysis worth highlighting:

  • The EU’s support for civil society has improved but remains behind the curve, as it struggles to keep pace with the emergence of dynamic innovations in civic activism.
  • Despite the disappointment of the Arab spring, a willingness to protest still exists across the region.
  • Contrary to many assumptions, the uprisings of the Arab spring were not a one-off that have entirely subsided back into the status quo ante.
  • Most Arab governments have responded by trying to stifle civic politics
  • Activists in Arab countries have begun to articulate more informal and community-rooted forms of civil society activity
  • Young people are turning toward social entrepreneurship and volunteerism as alternatives to engaging with NGOs.
  • Fluid and informal activism is the incipient strategy for getting round regime clampdowns on NGOs.
  • In many respects, the EU has begun to react to the new civic politics in recent years. It has increased its use of sub-granting, to make sure that funds move from larger NGO partners into smaller civic groups out of capital cities.
  • These changes are positive but for now remain tentative.

The publication of the Euromed Survey 2019 includes a descriptive report of the results and analysis articles by experts such as Intissar KherigiRichard Youngs, Senior Fellow (Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program, Carnegie Europe); Itxaso Domínguez Middle East & Maghreb Coordinator (Fundación Alternativas); Jerzy Pomianowki, Executive Director (European Endowment for Democracy EED-Brussels); Aziza Moneer (PhD. Visiting Research Fellow, Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden); Zaid Eyadat (Prof. Director of the Center for Strategic Studies. University of Jordan).

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