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The Tunisian Revolution and the Union for the Mediterranean. The Beginning of a New Wave of Democratization in the Arab World?

Jose Magone

The recent overthrow of Tunisian dictator Ben Ali by the population can be regarded as an important steptowards democratization of the Arab world. The Tunisian revolution had its repercussions in Egypt, Algeria andLibya. Is the Tunisian revolution the start of a domino effect across the Mediterranean? Which role can the Unionfor the Mediterranean play to support this revolutionary process towards, hopefully, democratization. Will theTunisian Revolution a lost opportunity due to the slow reaction of the Union for the Mediterranean and the EU?The paper will analyse the process leading up to the Tunisian revolution as an example about problems ofdemocratic governance in the Maghreb and Mashreq. Moreover, the role of the Euro-Mediterranean partnershipand the Union for the Mediterranean in sustaining neo-patrimonial dictatorships.The paper tries to assess what has been so far the legacy of the EU in general, the Euro-Mediterraneanpartnership in concrete, on supporting democratization efforts in the Maghreb and Mashreq countries. Moreimportantly, can the EU help transform the Tunisian revolution into a cycle of democracy-building in the region. Isthe Union of the Mediterranean the right addressee for supporting such efforts?

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