Norbert Neuser talks with the CEPR about EU neighborhood policy in the Arab world, foreign policy towards the eastern Mediterranean, and particularly vis-a-vis the Palestinians.
In light of the current changes in the Arab world, do you think the EU is doing enough to foster better relations around the Mediterranean?
The EU should focus even more on its southern neighbourhood policy. This means in particular supporting civil society as well as the democratization process. In terms of economy I think that perspectives should be created especially for the young, well-educated people. It is important for the EU to recover their credibility they lost by supporting non-democratic governments in the Arab world.
How could the EU and EEAS be more effective in forging and implementing a more efficient and more engaged foreign policy?
EU external action must be better coordinated. Furthermore it should be orientated in long-term as well as be based on European basic liberties.
Do you think that the leaked EU Heads of Mission reports will have an effect on EU foreign policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
The conflict between Israel and Palestine clearly shows EU inability to react. Within the Middle East Quartet, the EU should - and also could - take a leading role, if it would speak with a common voice. Germany in particular should rethink its position regarding the recognition of a Palestine State.
What joint measures and common actions could be taken by the EU and its Member States to advance a just resolution to the conflict?
The EU is for both Israel and Palestine an important partner. Nonetheless, priority should be the recognition of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and recognition of Israel through Palestine on the other hand.
What is your perspective on Palestinian efforts at reconciliation and the prospects of the EU recognizing a national unity government?
The reconciliation process between Fatah and Hamas should be strongly supported by the EU. At the same time, the EU should strengthen civil society in Palestine. In specific, EU should denounce against settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Moreover, the EU should push for a release of the 26 detained and elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). An invitation of the European Parliament to the PLC for an exchange of views and an arrangement of further steps would be meaningful.