Ten years after the Euromed partnership, the Human Rights situation is not of the best. Freedom of press, judicial independence, democratisation of political systems, and the right of association are not much better. However, the partnership has allowed the creation of financial instruments and the establishment of relationships with NGOs and civil society through a political dialogue.
Within Euromed, two great European problems exist: the efforts to deal with migratory waves and the war against terror. Unfortunately, our parliamentarians and civil society are not associated enough in the assessment of the progress achieved. To create a network between the political actors and the associates of this region is necessary so that they can all participate.
The new European neighbourhood policy (ENP) includes plans of action with more precise goals with regard to democracy and fundamental rights which are, actually, very operational. But such goals have not been clearly evaluated within the subcommittee on Human Rights because the European Union accepted Israel’s request of not having an evaluation subcommittee. From that moment, Europe has implemented a double standard policy that has led partners like Morocco, Jordan or Tunisia not to believe in it. Analyzing the situation of Human Rights, case by case, has not been debated yet. The individual character of the evaluation is essential because Human Rights’ defenders can not work properly in those countries.
The European Union is not capable of creating a mechanism to exert pressure. Tunisia is emblematic in this sense. Consequently, the EU must find a way to exert pressure to prevent the weakening of its image at the international level. For instance, certain kinds of funds should be suspended. The economic development of the country should not be risked, though. After all, Tunisia represents a challenge for the credibility of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership.
The concept of the European Union as the “master” on democracy issues must be put aside and a neo-colonialist attitude should be prevented. A common democratic compromise through an international pact should be created. Civil society in Third World countries share our values with regard to freedom of association, press and justice. I also see that the demands caused by the war against terror represent a test for the promotion of democracy and the development of Human Rights.

Source
Cafe Babel (France)

L’UE n’est pas le professeur en matière de démocratie”, by Hélène Flautre, Cafe Babel, November 28, 2005.