Arab Spring - JEF condemns the irrelevant answer of the European Union

Press release issued by JEF Europe on the 1st of March 2011

, by JEF Europe

Arab Spring - JEF condemns the irrelevant answer of the European Union

After several weeks of historic social movements in the Arab world, the European Union seems unable to deliver a coherent answer.

The Young European Federalists (JEF-Europe) are condemning the slow reaction of the European Union to the multiple truly historic events that took place in the Greater Middle-East over the last months. However, JEF-Europe regrets that Member States seem fossilized by ambiguous diplomatic ties and the European Union did not act in a determined or timely manner. “This feeble EU approach is demonstrated by the fact that Lady Ashton only seemed to want to visit Egypt when the revolution was over and Mubarak stepped down. Such a reaction will either go unnoticed or even harm the credibility of the single European diplomacy. In our 2.0 world, information goes fast and if Mrs Ashton wants to make the European Union a credible diplomatic actor, her services will have to deal better with emergency situations,” says Michel Gelly, JEF-Europe Executive Bureau Member.

Furthermore, JEF-Europe stresses that the verbal condemnation of violence in Libya is not sufficient with regard to the risk met by civilians and the EU citizens residing there. Philippe Adriaenssens, President of JEF-Europe says: “In light of the mad declarations by Gaddafi and the excessive display of violence, the European Union should be determined to do the maximum. While welcoming the EU sanctions against the Gadaffi regime of February 28, including the arms embargo, JEF regrets that it was in the first place possible that EU Member States granted €343 million of licences for arms exports to Libya in 2009 alone. Moreover, these sanctions alone will not enable the EU to take on a strong leadership role in supporting the demands for more democracy and protect the Libyan people. Sending interposition forces is, in international law, a prerogative of the United Nations. However, when human lives are at stake the European Union should act quickly by sending a humanitarian mission in coordination with the relevant regional and sub-regional organisations, such as the Arab League and the African Union.”

JEF-Europe also warns that the credibility of the newly-founded European External Action Service might deeply suffer from irrelevant, late or hesitant answers to the sequence of events of the Arab Spring. “The real risk would be a diplomatic failure as happened in the Balkans in the 1990’s. In the end, the United States had to intervene which was a humiliation for Europe, unable to deal with the problems in its own backyard,” says Julia Mikic, JEF-Europe Executive Bureau Member.

Adriaenssens concludes: “Convinced that the historic character of the wave of protests in the Greater Middle-East constitutes an unprecedented window of opportunity for the EU single diplomatic service to not only prove its relevance but also contribute to democratic transition in the EU’s neighbourhood, JEF-Europe urges the European Union to act as fast, as firmly and as effectively as possible.” As Barroso expressed rightly last week: “we cannot afford to be passive spectator of events”.

Contact Details

Philippe Adriaenssens, JEF-Europe President, president(at) Julia Mikic, JEF-Europe Press Responsible, julia.mikic(at)

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