Round table Conference’s Report: Democracy promotion East and South after the Arab Spring on 1- 2 December 2011

Re-evaluating the EU’s Engagement with Authoritarian Regimes

The Conference took place on 1-2 December 2011 at the Maastricht University, Brussels Campus, Avenue de L’Armée / Legerlaan 10, 1040 Brussels and was organised by Maastricht University, the Trans-European Policy Studies Association and the Institut für Europäische Politik.

The popular uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya and Syria in 2011 not only presented new challenges for EU policy towards the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), but also underlined the need to re-evaluate the EU’s engagement with authoritarian regimes more generally. The conference aimed to analyse what paradigms and strategies have guided EU policies towards authoritarian regimes over the past decades, and the factors which explained the strengths and limitations of EU democracy promotion in authoritarian countries, in addition to presenting concrete policy recommendations for future EU policy towards authoritarian regimes.

Workshop contributions offered historical and theoretical reflections, alongside empirical case studies analysing EU policy towards authoritarian rule in (i) the MENA region: Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Algeria, Syria, Jordan; (ii) Eastern Europe: Belarus, Ukraine, South Caucasus and (iiI) Central Asia: Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan.

The conference intended to bring together senior members of the Brussels diplomatic community, European institutional decision makers, academic scholars and relevant stakeholders, to provide a comparative perspective on EU relations with authoritarian regimes on its Eastern and Southern rim in an objective minded, academic setting.

Conference Report is available here.