Akin to a very slow moving of tectonic plates that never produces something as dramatic as a volcanic eruption or a tsunami, North African countries are undergoing a slow process of strengthening their national sovereignty and diversifying their security and economic partners. The Arab revolts of 2011 accelerated a shift which can be traced back to 9/11 and the decision of the European Union and the US to lay the emphasis on security in their relations with southern rim Mediterranean countries. When the West chose to define its relations with these countries as a bed of nails, the only instrument it could use was a hammer. The spirit of the Barcelona Process whose aim was to foster closer economic and cultural links fell victim to what critics viewed as the EU’s obsession with security.
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