The EU and its southern neighbourhood: the need for open minds, open ears, and open eyes
Conversations on the future of Europe in the world.
Around 30 countries and territories, stretching from Africa’s Atlantic coast to the Khyber Pass, constitute the wider neighbourhood of the European Union to the South. The area includes a number of regions and sub-regions, including the Sahel, the Maghreb, the Red Sea Region, the Levant and the Arabian peninsula. Iran and Afghanistan, whilst not in the immediate neighbourhood, are close enough to be also of consequence. Increasingly events in the southern neighbourhood are of interest and concern to European citizens. Very often the region is considered through a negative and narrow lens, associated with specific issues, such as migration, radicalisation and conflict. But interaction between Europe and this mega region are not new, and are much more complex and multifaceted. Suffice to say that of the 30 or so countries and territories in Europe’s neighbourhood south, only Saudi Arabia was never colonised by a European country in recent history.
LINKS Europe in collaboration with The City of The Hague, hosted the second in a series of events entitled ‘Conversations on the future of Europe in the world’ on Thursday, 28 October 2021,
The moderator of the event, Mr Jesse van Velzen, welcomed participants on behalf of the International office of The City of the Hague and LINKS Europe and introduced the topic: The EU and its southern neighbourhood: the need for open minds, open ears, and open eyes.
The first part of the conversation consisted of a panel discussion chaired by Mr van Velzen. The panel consisted of Dr Dennis Sammut, Director of LINKS Europe; Dr Sylvia Bergh, Associate Professor of Development Management and Governance at Erasmus University’s International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), and Senior Researcher at the Centre of Expertise on Global Governance, The Hague University of Applied Sciences; and Mr Tristan Ober, Policy Officer for Radicalisation and Polarisation at The City of The Hague.
Lange Voorhout 43, Den Haag
Event reportOpinions and views from participants during the conversations: "Engaging with the neighbourhood South with an open mind, open ears and open eyes is absolutely the right thing to do” “Whilst the southern neighbourhood has plenty of difficult challenges that sometimes constitute risks even to the EU, it is essential to keep in mind that this is a very dynamic region with plenty of opportunities” “Migrants from the South do not come to Europe because they like it – they come because they are escaping from poverty, instability and authoritarianism” “Dialogue between diaspora communities and municipal governments needs to be based on mutual respect” “In its dealings with the neighbourhood south going forward the EU needs to put the emphasis on building up the resilience of societies, not governments” “There is a risk that in addressing non- military problems in the neighbourhood South the EU is tempted to use military solutions” “With the EU now considering increasing its military footprint in the southern neighbourhood, the issue of what the EU wants to do in the region and why, needs to be very carefully and fully explained” “Young people in the EU need to be much better informed about what the neighbourhood South is, and the issues related to the region; we should not allow an information vacuum that is filled by extremists” “The EU needs to be much more innovative in crafting opportunities for decentralised co-operation with the southern neighbourhood” “We need to be clear what kind of economic growth we are seeking” “It is important to use proper and measured discourse when promoting European norms and values, and avoid the risk of sounding arrogant and patronising.”
Ein Verhältnis auf Augenhöhe in den Handelsbeziehungen zwischen Europa und dem Globalen Süden
European Movement International : Policy Position on the EU and the Southern Neighbourhood: more than crisis-management
Atención a las características de cada país para reforzar la vecindad sur
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