By Dana Moss
Following intense EU and French mediation, the Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian doctor were released from their
The EU has longed to include
European eagerness hinges on the need for Libyan cooperation in stemming immigration from Africa, the potential energy sources in the country – making it a logical market for
European enthusiasm has been reciprocated in turn with Libyan vacillation. Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has given contrary opinions on the matter, recently characterizing the Barcelona Process as "designed to serve ulterior motives and based on double standards." Libyan intransigence toward the Barcelona Process stems logically from its international rehabilitation and petrochemical riches. Reluctant to carry out the necessary political and economic reform, engage with Israel and be subordinate to the demands of a European bloc, it has shied away from large forums such as the Barcelona Process in favor of smaller ones, such as the 5+5 Dialogue Group. The latter, bringing together five Southern European states and five Maghrebi states, allows
So keen is the EU to court
Dangerously, such overtures legitimize Libyan reluctance to engage in reform and condone a non-cooperative stance toward Israel-Palestine relations. They award intransigence, at least, as long as the reluctant party is backed by oil wealth and strategically located. This approach also stands in direct contradiction of prior statements, as although the Joint Conclusions signed between
Yet leaving the status quo as it is, namely with member states engaged in business and political relations with the former pariah, but with no formal relationship with Brussels, also places the EU on precarious ground. Under the current format, two different regimes are also created: one in which countries have to reform politically, and another where they can still maintain relations with the EU regardless of their political behavior. This duality and preferential treatment makes the EU look hypocritical, as well as boding badly for the projection of its power.
The EU thus faces a catch-22 situation with
Dana Moss is a Senior Fellow at the Transatlantic Institute
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