Human Security: A New Perspective for Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation

17 February 2010 | Paper | English



Atila Eralp

In the post-Cold War period, the geostrategic importance of the Mediterranean region increased significantly from the security perspective of the European Union. The need to establish peace, stability and development in the region for the sake of the EU’s own security interests became more visible within the context of both rising regional political conflicts and socioeconomic problems such as increasing unemployment and illiteracy rates. The existence of regional conflicts and inter-state wars, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict and the War in Iraq, reinforced the emergent need to strengthen cooperation policies to restore peace in the region. In order to meet such challenges, the EU initiated the Barcelona Process: political cooperation through the establishment of political and security dialogue was one of the main pillars of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) as defined in the Barcelona Declaration of 1995. Although Euro-Mediterranean cooperation on security issues has been one of the central concerns of the Barcelona Process, the Barcelona Process has been widely criticised in countries on both the Northern and Southern shores of the Mediterranean for failing to achieve its goals of political reforms, regional cooperation and consolidation of cooperation in security building. To meet the present challenges and criticisms, in recent years the EU launched new initiatives such as the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) in an effort to move beyond the constraints of the traditional Barcelona Process. These new policies demonstrated that the EU was trying to strike a compromise between its more traditional multilateral orientations in the region and more bilateral and differentiated approaches based on individual action plans in the context of the ENP and the project-based approach of the UfM. While there has been a proliferation of EU initiatives and policies in the Mediterranean region in the past few years, these efforts have remained weak in addressing three major problems in the Mediterranean and the regions around the EU:

1. The problem of regional ownership: most of these initiatives are shaped from a European perspective; thus, the regional actors do not have the opportunity to make an effective contribution. Consequently, they do not tend to show much enthusiasm for these initiatives. As a result, the new initiatives lack regional ownership.

2. The recent initiatives have been strong on formulating ‘conditionality’, but lacking in terms of incentives. The neighbouring countries do not see many incentives, particularly on the institutional front, for them to voice their concerns and influence decision-making. The securitisation of migration issues especially affects them negatively in terms of their potential ownership of the new ENP and UfM initiatives.

3. Finally and most importantly, the EU has not been active in the resolution of major conflicts in the region such as the Arab-Israeli conflict or the Iraqi War. It is difficult to create new frameworks on security while such major conflicts in the Mediterranean and the Middle East remain unresolved.

The EU has relied on more ‘functional’ project-based types of cooperation with the UfM in the Mediterranean region; but it is not easy for functional types of cooperation to work against the backdrop of major conflicts in the region. Furthermore, the new EU initiatives in the Mediterranean region unfortunately coincided with the advent of ‘enlargement fatigue’ and a downturn in the European integration process, with institutional problems dominating the agenda of the EU. The ‘institutional fatigue’ faced by the EU was reinforced by the recent economic crisis. As the EU was immersed in its own internal problems, it started to lose its attractiveness in its neighbourhood. Within that context it became more difficult for the EU to act as a transformative power in its own neighbourhood. As Roberto Aliboni points out, the EU started to lose its impetus towards community-building in the Mediterranean region and adopted more traditional intergovernmental methods as demonstrated in particular in the case of the UfM. The rise of an intergovernmental approach to the region in the EU began to adversely affect its commitment to multilateralism, which was badly needed in the turbulent regions in its vicinity.

Fortunately, the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty has heralded the end of the institutional stalemate and of the downturn in the European integration process. The new more positive climate in the transatlantic relationship also provides a more favourable environment for the US and the EU to work together on the problems of the volatile international system. The changing international arena both creates a need for multilateralism and offers a more conducive environment for multilateralism. A critical test for the EU in the present international context is posed by the regions around the EU, primarily in the Mediterranean region. To be an effective and attractive model, the EU has to show that its model has more relevance for the regions around the EU. In brief, it should find ways to give a regional multilateral dimension to its bilateral relations with neighbouring states. There are two broad possibilities concerning these regions: either they will be immersed in major conflicts and dominated by ‘power politics’ or they will become part of a stable international system. What the EU does is extremely important in shaping these trajectories in neighbouring regions like the Mediterranean. In the light of these contemporary developments, the consolidation and the deepening of Euro-Mediterranean cooperative relations seem to depend primarily on the establishment of peace and the improvement of security dialogue in the region. In their respective chapters Roberto Aliboni and Abdallah Saaf make the point that security is a crucial field of cooperation in strengthening the Euro-Mediterranean relationship and that there is also a need to reevaluate the policies of the EU in the changing international context. While Aliboni focuses on the EU context and Saaf focuses on the Arab context, both emphasise the need to go beyond conventional understandings of security and to pay attention to ‘human security’ in helping to solve the ongoing political conflicts present in the Euro-Mediterranean region and bring peace and stability to the region.

From Roberto Aliboni’s and Abdallah Saaf’s insightful chapters it is possible to draw a number of policy recommendations with regard to consolidating and deepening cooperation on security in Euro-Mediterranean relations as they currently stand. These recommendations could be outlined as follows:

Rethink security in a comprehensive framework

There is a need to go beyond traditional conceptions of security by bringing new actors (e.g. civil society actors) into mechanisms of dialogue in addition to governments and expanding security considerations by linking hard and soft security issues. It seems vital for the EU to understand the security imperatives of the Mediterranean region from the perspective of the local countries. In the Arab context, a more inclusionary bottom-up approach which includes societal actors would create more participatory channels of dialogue. In rethinking security in a comprehensive framework, it is also crucial to focus on political reforms together with justice and home affairs and cooperation on matters of foreign and security policy. Pursuit of comprehensive security should go hand-in-hand with the emphasis on the notion of human security, which means that the EU should put people at the heart of its policies. In line with the Commission on Human Security’s definition, human security refers to the protection of human lives from all sources of insecurity. A commitment to the principle of human security seeks to enhance and promote fundamental human freedoms. While economic reforms undertaken with a view to supporting human development and welfare in the countries of the region would positively contribute to the prospects for human security, cooperation on political reforms such as democratisation and the rule of law is an equally important and challenging task. Inevitably, the promotion of good governance emerges as a highly effective way of ensuring human security. While there may be a need to mainstream the notion of human security into the policies and approaches of the EU towards its ENP and UfM partners, as suggested by Roberto Aliboni, prioritising good governance should exert a strong appeal for each partner as long as it contributes to positioning the EU as a credible actor in its neighbouring regions. However, the ultimate success of the EU’s policy strategies seems to depend primarily on the extent to which local actors in the region participate in a political and security dialogue whose objective is the reformulation of a comprehensive security framework.

Put human security at the centre of the new security approach

In the comprehensive security framework, as Abdallah Saaf points out in his chapter, putting a focus on human security could constitute an effective basis for enhancing Euro-Mediterranean dialogue on security issues. In line with the recommendations of the Commission on Human Security, emphasis on human security could address both the priorities of the Arab world and the expectations of the EU. Human security could incorporate good governance and political reforms as major driving forces that would lead to the protection and guarantee of fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals. The rule of law along with the principle of rotation of power should be underlined as critical ingredients in the provision of human security in the Mediterranean region. In this context, the EU needs to avoid the securitisation of social issues and link cooperation on justice with cooperation on security, in the framework of its different initiatives. As Abdallah Saaf puts it: ‘Le passage d’un concept de sécurité discrétionnaire à un concept de sécurité humaine où les individus se sentent d’abord en sécurité, et où la sécurité nationale est contrôlée démocratiquement.’

Combine political reforms with strategies of promoting economic and social development

It is evident that the notion of human security is inclusive of political reforms and political reforms are crucial in the context of social and economic development. However, the notion of human security should not be reduced to political reforms and good governance but should also include the combat against poverty and the promotion of social and economic development in the Mediterranean region. The present economic crisis necessitates more focus on issues of economic and social development in the Mediterranean context.

Increase co-ownership of the cooperation process

The recent initiatives undertaken by the EU, such as the ENP and UfM, try to address the issues of regional ownership by giving the Southern governments a collaborative role, but basically they remain at an intergovernmental level and reflect the dominant position of the EU countries. More attention should be paid to the voices of the Southern Mediterranean region and these voices should include those of civil society actors, in all their diversity, in addition to governments.

Strengthen channels of effective multilateralism

The increasingly globalised and multipolar system needs more multilateralism. The more positive climate in the transatlantic relationship also creates a more favourable environment for the US and the EU to work together on the creation of a multilateral multipolar system. The EU should strengthen ties of effective multilateralism in the Mediterranean region through international cooperation without giving up the long-term perspective of community-building in the region. The pursuit of international cooperation would focus on the achievement of confidence building and conflict resolution and address the major conflict of the region, i.e. the Arab-Israeli conflict. There is a need for more active EU involvement in supporting President Obama’s initiatives in the Middle East peace process and to step up mechanisms of dialogue with Turkey and the Arab states. The EU should also create more effective channels of dialogue with the UN in order to enhance the potential for security cooperation across the Mediterranean Sea and build on the experience of contributing Mediterranean partners for ESDP crisis management missions.

Do not neglect region-building

Given that the UfM aims to bring together the EU and its partners in this area on a multilateral platform while retaining an intergovernmental basis, and the fact that the ENP is based on a ‘hub-and-spokes’ system of bilateralism, the EU should strive to combine effective multilateralism with effective regionalism. The EU might consider using intermediate formal and informal platforms or venues with the specific aim of developing common interests among all actors involved in the process. Working towards developing common interest, such as the establishment of a Free Trade Area or the creation of an effective regional system of intervention in the event of disasters, may be feasible short-term goals which could also serve the overall EU aim of achieving regional cohesion. The EU should find ways to link its multilateralism to the Mediterranean region and strengthen multilateral regionalism in the region.

Security and cooperation on security in current Euro-Mediterranean relations

Roberto Aliboni

This chapter seeks to understand the evolution and current orientation of EU security policy towards the Mediterranean. Obviously, this question is important in the wider framework of EU security policy. However, it is also a question that needs to be addressed in the light of the considerable transformations that have taken place within the EU and in its international context over the fifteen years that have elapsed since the launch of the Barcelona Declaration. The question is also topical because of the unsatisfactory results that have been achieved by EU policy towards the Mediterranean despite the adoption of new policy instruments and approaches.

This chapter examines, first of all, the broad strategic rationale of EU Mediterranean security policy. Second, it takes into consideration the policies whereby the EU pursued its strategy during the first period of the Barcelona Process (1995-2000) and the reasons for their failures. Third, it considers the changes in security policies that came about subsequently – from 2000 to the present – and the limitations and risks of deviations in these policies with respect to strategic objectives. Taking stock of previous analysis, the chapter argues that there is a gap between current policies and the strategies that are still supposed to inspire those policies which needs to be narrowed with a view to taking new realities into account. In this perspective, the chapter puts forward some ideas and recommendations.

The strategic rationale of the EU ’s Mediterranean security policy

The security doctrine of the EU is a product of the situation which emerged at the end of the Cold War. During the Cold War the EU had never dealt with security to any significant extent, as security was a global and military issue that was regarded as essentially outside its competences and reach. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the communist regimes of Eastern Europe led to widespread disorder in the region and the risk that this might spill over into the EU and affect its stability. While this did not constitute a military threat, it represented a multi-dimensional – political, economic, social and environmental – risk for the EU’s security. This emerging non-global and non-military risk could not be dealt with by NATO on its own. It had to be tackled by the Europeans. For these reasons the EU was forced to take on the mantle of a security actor and gradually began to formulate and articulate a security strategy, mainstreaming security rationales in its policies.

The EU’s concept of security is basically predicated on preserving the stability of its democratic political regimes, its prosperity and, more generally, the stability and cohesion of its social fabric. The strategy whereby this public good is preserved has been gradually built up over time and is a fundamental part of the EU acquis. It includes the Barcelona Declaration, which is, in fact, one of the milestones in the formation of the EU’s security doctrine and whose significance, in this sense, goes beyond Euro-Mediterranean relations. The EU’s vision of security was comprehensively articulated in the 2003 European Security Strategy.

The European Security Strategy (ESS) singles out a number of non-military global challenges, which the EU contributes to tackle, and makes reference to distant ‘key threats’ that the EU may at some point be required to face. However – and this is coherent with the very matrix of the EU’s security policy – its most relevant strategic concerns relate to the EU neighbourhood, specifically key threats and challenges emerging in its neighbourhood. In this context, the strategic concept intended to ensure the EU’s security is formulated in the ESS as the need to ‘promote a ring of well-governed countries to the East of the European Union and on the borders of the Mediterranean with whom we can enjoy close and cooperative relations.’

In more detail, the European Security Strategy holds that, if good governance can be fostered in neighbouring states – i.e. if they can be helped to become democratic, prosperous and internationally cooperative – the resolution of regional crises will be easier and regional factors of instability, with their spill-over effects, can be brought under more effective control. This should make it easier for the EU to preserve its own stability. Consequently, in order to achieve its strategic goal, the EU has to conduct policies intended to promote reforms in the neighbouring countries’ domestic political, economic and social arenas and help them become well-governed countries.

The definition of these concepts and their mutual functional relations are relevant to the argument of this chapter. The concepts alluded to above can be briefly summarised as follows:

• The EU has, first of all, established a kind of supreme strategic objective, that is the preservation of its stability, cohesion and prosperity – something akin to its material acquis – with respect to risks coming from its neighbourhood

• The principal strategy whereby this objective is expected to be achieved is the transformation of neighbouring countries into well-governed countries

• The principal strategy is implemented by means of auxiliary strategies, which include: (a) promotion of political reforms and democratisation; (b) social and economic development; (c) regional cohesion and cooperation; (d) regional conflict resolution and management; (e) cooperative security; and (f) effective multilateralism

• These auxiliary strategies are implemented by a variety of policies.

It must be pointed out that this strategy is perceived by the EU and its members as a process of transposition or externalisation of the EU’s own experience and values of democratisation, development and integration among its Member States. For this reason, the strategy might be described as one of ‘Europeanisation’. However, it must be stressed that this term may be misleading, as all the ‘Europeanisation’ model signifies is an attempt at building up some form of community going beyond traditional and conventional formats of international relations, as exemplified by the EU. Despite some deviations, it is not a Eurocentric or ‘export-led’ model of international relations. This ‘Europeanisation’ model is inherently tied to the practices of cooperation rather than imposition, export or other forms of graft. In other words, and in extreme synthesis, EU security, in the Mediterranean and elsewhere, is predicated on cooperative, contractual and normative concepts and instruments.

This picture is not complete unless we take into consideration the new dimension added to EU security strategy by the establishment of the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs policy (providing for the creation of an integrated area of freedom, security and justice – FSJ) and its external dimension between the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s.

The establishment of an integrated EU area in which citizens and non-citizens can move freely has entailed problems of control and management with respect to external factors as well, specifically those stemming from the Mediterranean. A cooperative solution has been applied to these problems, first because cooperation with interested countries is certainly bound to facilitate EU control and, secondly – and probably most importantly – because a non-cooperative, non-open solution would be at odds with the guiding principles of the security strategy and even negatively affect its chances of success. As will be seen in page 17ff, the EU has in fact integrated these emerging management tasks in the Euro-Mediterranean security strategy by instituting cooperation with its partners in order to contribute to building an ‘area of freedom, security and justice’ based on reforms and assistance.

Although the establishment of the area of freedom, security and justice has been integrated in the broad cooperative framework of the EU security strategy, its inclusion is not without problems. This is due to the fact that, while the EU security strategy towards the Mediterranean is a strategy of prevention, the development of the area of freedom, security and justice in the neighbourhood has introduced a management dimension into this preventive strategy. In other words, while the overriding aim of the strategy is to achieve structural stability in a conflict prevention framework, cooperation to establish the area of freedom, security and justice aims primarily at managing spill-over effects for the sake of the EU’s interest, even if this is done – or is expected to be done – in keeping with the principles and values of the main strategy, i.e. reforms and respect for human rights. This discrepancy may bring about contradictions and make the security strategy and its implementation more complex.

Reforms, cooperative security and region-building: 1995- 2000

At the beginning of the 1990s, while coping with the consequences of the Soviet empire’s dissolution in Central and Eastern Europe, the EU was also preoccupied with security concerns with respect to risks and challenges emanating from the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. Against the backdrop of the strategic thinking previously outlined, the EU, by drawing heavily on its intra-European experience, worked out a three-pronged Mediterranean security policy based on the kind of auxiliary strategies described in the previous section. This policy aimed at: (i) establishing a Euro-Mediterranean framework based on cooperative security; (ii) providing strength and cohesion to the Euro-Mediterranean region by means of a framework of multilateral relations; and (iii) promoting domestic reforms in the countries across the Mediterranean Sea with the aim of shaping what, later on, the ESS would identify as a ring of well-governed and prosperous countries. This policy was embedded in the Barcelona Declaration.

None of these three policies – neither cooperative security, nor reforms, nor regional cohesion – succeeded. This failure was due to several factors: (i) parties involved in the key regional conflicts south of the Mediterranean Sea (the Arab-Israeli conflict, Western Sahara) did not believe it was possible to cope with and resolve such conflicts by means of cooperative security and did not accept the idea of shaping a joint Euro-Mediterranean security regime;4 (ii) political reforms were rejected as a dangerous interference in the sovereignty and stability of the relevant countries; (iii) outstanding conflicts, especially the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, along with narrow national views and inter-state rivalries on the Southern shores of the Mediterranean, prevented any significant regional cohesion from emerging.

The experience of the first five years of the Barcelona Process – particularly in the framework of the project aimed at setting out a Euro-Mediterranean Charter on Peace and Stability – made it clear that that there was an acute lack of common ground among Euro- Med Partners. Such common ground failed to emerge both in relation to the creation of a cooperative security framework and the implementation of reforms, especially political reforms. These developments suggested to the Euro-Med partners that they had to find new ways to shape Euro-Mediterranean cooperation.

New approaches from 2001 to the present

After the 2000 ministerial conference of Marseilles, in which the EU’s plans to promote reforms and cooperative security were ultimately rejected by the Southern Partners, the EU went back to the drawing board and revised its proposals. In this reform perspective, the EU’s overall patterns of external relations and cooperation with neighbouring countries underwent significant alterations. Over time, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) established in 1995 at Barcelona has been replaced by two new paradigms of relations, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM).

The ENP is today the main channel through which EU policies and security strategies towards the Mediterranean are conducted. It strongly retains the aim of promoting reforms with a view to shaping a Euro-Med ‘milieu’ of well-governed countries.5 However, reform promotion – unilaterally supported by EU conditionality in the early phase of the Barcelona Process – is presently based on the principle of co-ownership, which means that reforms, to be launched and implemented, need to be agreed by partners, so that they become a shared endeavour. In fact, however, co-ownership limits the scope of reforms to nations that are willing to adopt them and makes reforms regionally uneven. On the one hand, reforms are the object of negotiations, whereby a compromise has to be reached between the EU’s expectations with regard to reforms and the partners’ own priorities. On the other hand, as individual partners’ responses are by definition bound to be different from one another, reform promotion is carried out on a country-by-country basis, i.e. bilaterally, with inherently uneven results in the regional framework. In sum, while the strategic discourse remains unchanged, reforms are promoted pragmatically, in keeping with what compromises allow for and on a case-by-case basis.

Within these limits, reforms and security nevertheless play a prominent role in the ENP (much more so than in the inconclusive EMP framework). The agreements based on coownership are ‘Action Plans’ that the partners and the EU are committed to implement in cooperation with one another. If we leave aside other social and economic actions that could be considered from the point of view of their security dimension, in these Plans the most relevant actions in terms of security concern political dialogue and the management of mobility and home security in internal and external relations – referred to by the EU as the creation of an area of freedom, security and justice in the space shared by partners. The political dialogue relates to two different sets of issues: on one hand, the implementation of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms; on the other, cooperation on foreign and security policy. All in all, three main areas of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation on security can be identified: (i) enhancing political reforms (i.e. democracy, rule of law, human rights, and fundamental freedoms); (ii) cooperating in matters of foreign and security policy; and (iii) implementing a common space of justice, security and freedom.

These three comprehensive areas constitute at present the basic blueprint for action in Euro-Mediterranean cooperation on security. These comprehensive areas encompass a range of more specific areas, such as electoral reform; reform of the judiciary; the fight against corruption; combating terrorism; combating racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and Islamophobia; non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery; participation in Peace Support Operations (PSOs); developing regional cooperation; security sector reform (SSR); clearing landmines; and so forth. The expansion, significance and impact of these areas – and therefore the strengthening of Euro- Mediterranean cooperation on security – depends on two main factors: the interest of the partners and the EU’s ability to stimulate such interest. The quality of this more or less expanded cooperation on security remains tied, however, to its functional links with EU strategic aims; in other words, it remains tied to the extent to which the various cooperation areas serve the EU strategic objectives of reform, prosperity and stability in the region.

When it comes to the UfM, its relation to security and cooperation on security is less connected with actual policies – as in the case of the ENP – than the process which is expected to develop in the future – as was the case with the EMP. The most important objectives of the UfM are a collective political dialogue and the implementation of large-scale regional projects (having a mostly economic, social and cultural orientation). On the one hand, the UfM is intended to achieve political and security understandings among its members by means of traditional inter-state diplomacy. In other words, having recognised the absence of a political common ground in the Euro-Mediterranean environment, where there is little or no sense of community, the partners decided to go back to a more traditional pattern of intergovernmental cooperation. On the other hand, the UfM focuses on the implementation of big economic and social development projects, to be identified and then run by a new North-South Secretariat in a context of co-ownership rather than by the Commission in the context of the EU.

While understandings on security and cooperation among the UfM governments cannot be ruled out in their future relations, in the present political context the prospect of such understandings being reached looks as remote as it proved to be under the EMP. In reality, the expectation is that the link to security in the UfM will be ensured by the implementation of its large-scale projects. In this sense, the UfM seems to espouse the idea that more economic-financial integration and cooperation in the region may ultimately constitute, at first, a platform to enhance human security and, once this platform is strengthened, the pre-condition for a political and security common ground in the longer run. In actual fact, any functional link between economic development and political reform is rather dubious. From the UfM’s point of view, the success it anticipates in implementing the big regional projects should increase its visibility; success and increased visibility are, in turn, expected to strengthen political cohesion. This cohesion would make it possible to develop cooperation on security and allow for the emergence of some common ground sometime in the future.

The only reference to security cooperation in the documents establishing the UfM concerns cooperation in dealing with natural and man-made disasters. This policy is already contemplated in ENP Action Plans. In these Plans, though, cooperation is bilateral. The ambition is to provide the UfM with a regional dimension. In fact, the UfM may attempt to restore the regional dimension which was lost with the ENP. This point will be returned to later in this chapter.

Limitations of and deviations in current policies

How are the new policies working? While, at this point in time, we do not know what is going to happen with the UfM, the EU has acquired almost five years of significant experience with the ENP. The Commission made detailed assessments of that policy’s achievements in 2006, 2007 and 2008 (particularly in the latter two years). While they attest a clever and dedicated effort on the part of the Commission and a certain degree of success with Ukraine, the Western Balkans and Morocco, in the broad Mediterranean area the outcome is not particularly convincing. This general verdict applies to all the three security policy areas of cooperation identified in the previous section.

In general, while a steady engagement is discernible with regard to a few partners, most of them seem to comply only very unevenly with engagements or are in fact intent on neglecting such engagements and putting them off. When it comes to the area in which partners and the EU are expected to cooperate to enhance political reforms, in its report on 2007 developments the Commission points out that ‘political reform is slow-moving.’ In the report for 2008, the Commission’s assessment is that ‘overall the pace of reforms has slowed particularly in democratic reforms and human rights standards’. The same is true with respect to cooperation in the area of freedom, security and justice.8 In particular, it must be noted that in this area, while the Commission considers readmission agreements with partner countries as an indispensable condition to implement a policy of visa facilitation,9 the EU is currently negotiating only two such agreements with Mediterranean Partners, without any success so far – with Morocco since May 2001 and with Algeria (which by the way is still negotiating its membership in the ENP) since June 2005. The stumbling block, in particular in the case of Morocco, is the EU request that the relevant partner countries agree to repatriate not only their own nationals but also third country nationals and stateless persons from EU territory.

Partners appear to be more cooperative when it comes to the area of foreign and security policies. However, it must be pointed out that cooperation in this area is mostly declaratory in its character. When it comes to action, cooperation is very tenuous. For example, so far, the only country which has provided a substantive operational cooperation in the PSOs area – i.e. the area relating to the ESDP pillar – is Morocco. This country took part in the EU’s Althea military operation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and, in 2008, cooperated in a European crisis management exercise. Basically, progress in this area does not amount to much more than a good diplomatic dialogue.

All these observations do not necessarily lead to the conclusion that the ENP is not working. What they suggest is that its performance is weak and uneven. Furthermore, while apparently underpinned by the original strategic principles, in actual practice policies seem to put these very principles in question. This is the case in particular with regional cohesion or region-building and cooperative security. Let us look, first of all, at regionbuilding.

As we know, the ENP is an inherently bilateral policy, inevitably bound to generate, sooner or later, fragmentation in the region. True, the Action Plans foresee the implementation of regional dimensions with respect to the various objectives retained by partners. However, these regional dimensions are clearly on the sidelines of the Action Plans. Furthermore, the Southern partners do not attach any serious priority to them. Differentiation is seen as an asset by the EU and most partners. However, when looking at the final result expected from the policy – i.e. in a strategic perspective – the inherent weakness of the regional dimension in the ENP is bound to create a disparate situation, i.e. a fragmented ring of countries, some of them well-governed and others less so. In strategic terms, this fragmentation is definitely not an asset. The regional dimension is a constitutive rather than an ancillary factor in the EU’s principal strategy. In this perspective, the development of the UfM, thanks to its multilateral political dialogue and its region-wide economic projects, could provide the dynamic regional dimension that Euro-Mediterranean relations are currently sorely lacking. The EU regards the UfM as the multilateral interface of the ENP’s Mediterranean dimension – in parallel to the role the Eastern Partnership is expected to play with respect to the ENP’s Eastern European dimension. If the UfM turns out to be successful, it will certainly provide the necessary regional background to the bilateral web of the ENP. There are, however, objectives, such as the completion of the overall Euro-Mediterranean free trade area, which cannot be pursued either within the framework of the big projects planned under the auspices of the UfM or in the framework of the ENP. The task of developing an intermediate regional dimension remains essential to the implementation of the security strategy

The weakness of regional cohesion and region-building is, in turn, a negative factor for cooperative security. In fact, while the latter can be pursued in bilateral relations, its optimal and natural environment needs to be multilateral. It is true, however, that cooperative security was strongly weakened in the context of the Barcelona Process primarily for another reason: because – as the parties recognised in Marseilles – the common ground, necessary to achieve some institutionalised form of cooperative security at the regional level, is simply lacking. All in all, thanks to ESDP, in Euro-Mediterranean relations the strategy of cooperative security has been replaced by policies of security cooperation. The latter cover a large potential range of initiatives stretching from cooperation in the event of disasters to cooperation in the framework of PSOs and from the use of civilian to the use of military instruments. However, it remains true that, in terms of region-building and cohesion, security cooperation is only a second best.

In sum, the new policies seem in fact to call into question the early strategic rationale of security and security cooperation in the Euro-Mediterranean context.

Apart from the fallout from weaknesses in and alterations to the strategy, some analysts see risks of strategic deviations when it comes to the area of freedom, security and justice, as cooperation in this area (as pointed out in the first part of this chapter) would be less directed at attaining ‘milieu’ than ‘possession goals’.

This is essentially due to the way in which immigration and, to a lesser extent, terrorism have been securitised at the level of national Member States. National trends towards securitisation strongly affect EU policies and the EU’s overall strategy. While the EU strategy regarding the external dimension of the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) policy tries to strike a reasonable balance between control over access to the EU and openings and support to partner countries, the way EU Member States pursue the FSJ external dimension in the JHA and GAERC Councils – and, even more so, the web of national restrictive policies pursued by EU national states – affect EU policies and give them an orientation that mirrors the restrictive policies espoused by EU Member States. Projecting control capabilities outside the territory of the EU is becoming more and more important in implementing the strategy for the external dimension of the JHA pillar. Externalisation and outsourcing of migration control and asylum policy are creating a kind of borderland around the EU. In these conditions, there is no doubt that, in order to control migration and other issues contemplated in the Hague Programme, the EU risks undermining its own strategic principles, as security and control imperatives tend to outweigh the aim of opening up to the partner states and – as noted – the pursuit of ‘possession goals’ to prevail over ‘milieu goals’. With the result that the ring of well-governed countries may become, to some extent, a ring of well-controlled countries (especially if the cooperation supposed to lead to reforms is a long and protracted process or fails to achieve its objectives or – as may happen in the case of support to police forces – if it reinforces rather than reforms authoritarian domestic regimes).

In sum, when examining the new policies enforced after 2000, we note weak policies, tendencies that undermine early strategic rationales or that present risks of deviation from those same rationales. Where do we go from here?

Strategic revisionism and policy reforms in the new context

Having reviewed EU security strategies and policies towards the Mediterranean – from the Barcelona Declaration through to the present state of play – it seems as if the most prominent theme in this evolution is an emerging gap between strategic goals and the policies geared to achieve these very goals. These policies failed in the first stage of the Barcelona Process, steered by the EMP. They have been subjected to changes or alterations. Nonetheless, in the current stage of the Process, guided by the ENP and, now, the UfM, they still appear inadequate and unlikely to achieve their strategic aims. Sometimes indeed they look as if they were devised with a view to achieving other aims. What has changed or what needs to be changed – the strategies or the policies? No examination of EU security policy towards the Mediterranean can afford to overlook this emerging gap. Can it be narrowed or closed?

Sooner or later, ideals and convictions will turn out to be incoherent with policies, institutions and behaviours. As soon as the perception of this discrepancy emerges, the problem arises of restoring the consonance between the two terms of the equation, i.e. the problem of narrowing or closing the gap. There is no doubt that, since 2000, early EU ideals and convictions with respect to the Mediterranean have been intensely challenged by realities. In response to challenges, EU strategies and policies towards the area are being adapted and changed. In this framework, though, it is important to understand whether policies are being reformed on the basis of unchanged strategies or, in contrast, if they are being reformulated as a consequence of strategic revisions. Conceptually, this implies resorting to the well-known distinction between reformism (whereby policies are changed because they are seen as unsuited to implementing strategies or ideologies, which remain unchallenged) and revisionism (which in contrast is an ideological or strategic alteration entailing what might more appropriately be called policy reformulations or reshufflings rather than actual reforms).

In the case of Euro-Mediterranean relations, policy reshufflings have been presented and construed as reforms, whereas they are in fact the outcome of gradual strategic revisionism. After the failure of the Euro-Mediterranean policies at the end of the 1990s, there was a debate in the EU on policies but no debate took place on the ideals and strategic objectives underpinning policy changes. Policies are gradually revised, but without this being openly acknowledged. So, which revisions have affected the EU strategy towards the Mediterranean neighbourhood? Three tiers of revisions – with regard to political reforms, cooperation rationales, and Europeanisation models – appear most significant.

First of all, it is now broadly recognised that the promotion of political reforms is subject to strong constraints, both with regard to the content and significance of reforms and their timeframe. As a result, political reform is now pursued by a process of co-ownership (and positive conditionality) rather than by negative conditionality and (soft) imposition. The outcome of this shift is less a strategic change as such than the ‘downsizing’ of the early strategic goal of turning the region into a ring of well-governed and democratic countries. It is clear that partners’ responses have been – and will continue to be – very uneven: a few of them actually co-own some reforms; most of them, in contrast, only do so to a limited extent or not at all. So, while it has not been actually reneged upon, the early objective of political reform is not pursued by a bold policy of across-the-board democratic reform any more but rather by a case-by-case policy destined to obtain differentiated results throughout the region. This will result in a very fragmented ring of Mediterranean well-governed countries, which at the end of the day may not be favourable to EU security. This downgrading is not a strategic change proper, yet it is not devoid of strategic significance. In fact, it leaves the question open of whether the EU will opt to introduce further policy reform with a view to fulfilling strategic goals more satisfactorily or, alternatively, forge ahead with further strategic revision. The issue can also be seen from another angle: the goal of turning the regional countries into well-governed countries could be pursued by a different mix of auxiliary strategies – fostering primarily effective multilateralism, in a context of more or less traditional international cooperation, with a view to promoting domestic reforms and good governance indirectly or at a later stage. As a matter of fact, both the ENP and the UfM are working towards these aims.

The second tier of revisions concerns the rationales for cooperation. In 1995, the objective was the establishment of an area based on communitarian cohesion of sorts: a grouping of countries inspired by shared values and engaged in common actions and policies. The essential ingredients of that project were the building of a regional space based on multilateral relations and the application of cooperative security principles. As we know, the project turned out to be unfeasible. This unsatisfactory outcome brought about a further strategic revision, undeclared yet anticipated by political changes introduced in the early 2000s. On the one hand, the ENP has put the construction of a Euro-Mediterranean multilateral region on the back burner and has replaced it by a policy led by a ‘hub-andspokes’ pattern of bilateralism. In this context, it could be argued that the intention is to restore multilateralism under the aegis of the UfM; however, it must be observed that the UfM’s brand of multilateralism is based on inter-state conventional relations rather than a community-like model of relations. On the other hand, cooperative security disappeared from the radar screen of Euro-Mediterranean relations very swiftly, as the maelstrom of the Arab-Israeli conflict, with its destabilising ramifications, effectively prevented it from being even initiated. Cooperative security has been replaced by security cooperation. The strategic/ideological discourse has, more often than not, remained the same. However, today’s Euro-Mediterranean security policies aim at a cooperation that is quite different from the kind envisaged by the Barcelona Process in its early stages: the objective is not communitarian cooperation – lending itself to ‘Europeanisation’ – but rather a conventional international type of cooperation, in which the transposition of European models is subjected to strong constraints. The case is not substantially different from that of the shift from imposed to negotiated political reform discussed above.

A third revision worth considering relates to the EU’s openness towards its Mediterranean partners and its ability to transpose its model of liberties and welfare to neighbouring countries and citizens. It is particularly in the field of migration that securitisation is changing the strategic approach originally espoused by the EU. Policies in the area of freedom, security and justice tend to differentiate between the internal and external regimes of individuals’ rights. Furthermore, freedom tends to be assured to EU citizens, but much less so to immigrants. The basic principle on which the external dimension of the area of freedom, security and justice is based – domestic reform by partner countries as a condition for access to the EU – cannot really work, as the progress of FSJ reforms in the partner countries has a long way to go, whereas demands for access to EU territory are pressing. In substance, most of the policies linked to the implementation of the area of freedom, security and justice are intended to prevent migrants’ access to European territory; in military terms they would be called ‘forward defence measures’. All this is far away from the kind of ‘Europeanisation’ underpinning the overall EU strategic vision and intended to shape the neighbourhood along the lines of the European model and bestow its benefits upon it. In the case of migration and the security issues dealt with by policies relating to the JHA external dimension, the EU’s strategy runs the risk of shifting from the search for ‘milieu goals’ to that of ‘possession goals’. This is at odds with the overall strategic vision of the EU. While the two cases discussed above demonstrate strategic shifts, this scenario would involve a possible strategic reversal.

In sum, behind the apparently reformist approach of the EU there are revisionist trends. This has yet to be duly disclosed and debated. The EU acts as if it had changed its policies with a view to achieving its original ideals and strategies. In actual fact, it has changed its policies in order to attune them to an undeclared revisionist trend in its strategies.

This does not help reinforce ideals or improve policies. In the perspective of reinforcing the Mediterranean security policy and the cooperation on security between the two shores of the Basin, the EU and the Europeans have to openly admit the strategic revision which stems from changes in policies. It is not too late to undertake the debate which has failed to take place until now.

On the other hand, the substance and significance of the revisions illustrated above are not uniform. Co-ownership and security cooperation are bound to obtain uneven results and, therefore, be less effective with respect to the overarching strategic objectives of the EU in the Mediterranean. However, while they do not run counter to these overarching objectives, policies related to the FSJ area risk doing so. Co-ownership and security cooperation alter time frames and make strategic objectives more distant and uncertain, yet they do not rule out the early EU objectives of democratisation and cooperative security. They invite strategic adjustments and shifts. In contrast, securitisation introduces revisions at odds with EU strategic objectives as originally declared. This invites strategic reversals.

In conclusion, the gap cannot be entirely closed. If prevailing migration policies continue, there would be a strategic reversal in EU security strategy, which would become more similar to that of a national great power. Otherwise, there would be some kind of adjustment between less ambitious strategic goals and more effective policies. In this sense, today’s policies attest to a transition. In this transition, cooperation in the realm of security is bound to pursue more remote and limited objectives. On the other hand, relations will inevitably unfold in a context of international cooperation rather than in a framework of community-building. Taking this conclusion into account, let us consider some implications of the current perspective with regard to security cooperation policies and security areas in which cooperation can be pursued.

Effective multilateralism and region-building – Although from a Europeanisation perspective the shift from community-based cooperation to international cooperation may appear as a downgrading of the original goal, good, effective international cooperation remains an important objective. Working towards effective international cooperation means in any case pursuing ‘milieu goals’. In other words, it largely allows for the application of an ‘effective multilateralism’ strategy. A most relevant auxiliary in the present EU security panoply, effective multilateralism could be upgraded as a strategy which integrates and enhances the effectiveness of other ones.

A successful implementation of this strategy may create a climate in which confidence can be improved and cooperative security can eventually become feasible in the region. This would give EU conflict-resolution policies a greater chance of success.

Clearly, good inter-state relations in an international context cannot be the same thing as good inter-state relations in a community context. If a community context prevails, developments in confidence-building and conflict resolution are easier than in an international context. However, an international context in which a consistent strategy to implement effective multilateralism is pursued with determination may allow for the achievement of both confidence-building and conflict resolution. In this perspective, it would be important to couple effective multilateralism with region-building.

The ENP has strongly weakened the regional perspective. However, in 2008 the launch of the UfM ushered in the possibility of altering the Eurocentric and bilateral model of the ENP. Will the UfM suffice to provide the necessary multilateral/regional dimension? In this context, the political dialogue and the implementation of the large-scale regionwide projects contemplated by the UfM are significant factors. However, as argued in previous sections, a strengthening of the almost neglected regional dimension in the EMP – which needs to be entrusted again to the Commission – may help. Between the bilateral dimension of the ENP and the intergovernmental dimension of the UfM, there are important collective and multilateral objectives to pursue which are neither the responsibility of the former nor the latter, as for instance the completion of the Euro-Med free trade area or the establishment of an effective regional system for intervention in the event of disasters. This leads to the conclusion that an intermediate regional structure may be necessary with a view to helping couple effective multilateralism with effective regionalism. In principle, developing such an intermediate regional dimension within the actual ENP would make sense as it would help provide a more comfortable balance between the UfM and the Commission, and between the intergovernmental and the communitarian dimensions.

Human security, good governance and the rule of law – Many in the partner countries across the Mediterranean Sea complain about the instrumental nature of the EU’s policy of reform promotion. These reforms primarily serve the purpose of preserving EU political stability and prosperity and focus on EU security whereas – so partners argue – they should concentrate on reducing poverty and, in general, promoting economic and social development in the Southern Mediterranean countries in a perspective of human security and good governance. While there is no doubt that the EU’s policies towards its neighbourhood are essentially dictated by an overall securitised vision, the human security perspective suggested by partners is not really an alternative, as political reforms are part and parcel of the human security perspective: the notion of human security includes political reform. As for good governance, it cannot be reduced to the notion of an enlightened tyranny, in which overall governance may happen to be good except for the fact that citizens do not have any say in it. In this sense, EU policy is based on human security and good governance as well. It is abundantly clear that, while reforms receive the greatest emphasis in EU policies, more emphasis should be put on other dimensions of human security as well. In this sense, while not a real alternative to EU policy based on political reforms and human rights, human security could provide a more cohesive and inclusive discourse to all partners in which different emphases would stem from pragmatic rather than political or ideological options.

In this perspective, human security could constitute a more effective vehicle for ENP goals and capabilities than previous EMP doctrines. No doubt, in the individual Action Plans, thanks to co-ownership, more attention is paid to goals other than political reform. In fact, the ENP is bound to be more successful in the realm of good governance than in achieving core political reforms. This does not exactly match EU expectations, yet it is paving the way for central political reforms to be implemented one day. Especially important in a human security perspective is the attention paid to the rule of law. This is the case, in particular, in the framework of the sector of the Action Plans devoted to democracy and the rule of law and in the framework of the sector regarding cooperation in the area of freedom, security and justice. The rule of law, along with the principle of rotation of power, is a most sensitive ingredient in the passage to a democratic polity. Here efforts need to be concentrated.

As pointed out in previous sections, cooperation in the area of FSJ is partly affected by securitisation trends, resulting in an imbalance between European control and partners’ freedoms in the shared area of freedom, security and justice. Apart from the risk of ‘possession goals’ prevailing over ‘milieu goals’ – which would be a fundamental and unacceptable alteration in the EU’s security strategy – in the policy establishing the area of freedom, security and justice, another risk is an eventual imbalance between the reinforcement of the judiciary and judicial institutions, on one hand, and that of the police forces, on the other. If police capabilities are reinforced more extensively than those of justice and judicial institutions, this would strengthen current authoritarian regimes rather than the rule of law and would certainly fail to promote reform. So, the point worth making with regard to the implementation of reforms in a good governance and human security perspective is less the poor likelihood of introducing core political reforms – with respect to which good governance and human security may serve, in any case, as precursors – than the risks of deviation that have been outlined in the previous section. Once assured against these risks, cooperation in the FSJ area can work as a most important component of a policy intended to promote reforms in a human security and good governance perspective.

Security cooperation and PSOs – With the decline of cooperative security in the Barcelona Process framework and the establishment of the ESDP and its reinforcement over time in the framework of the EU, both EU security capabilities and the potential for security cooperation between the EU and the partners have strongly increased. Let us look first at the potential for cooperation and then at the EU’s own increase in capabilities.

While the potential for security cooperation across the Mediterranean Sea has increased thanks to the increase in EU capabilities, initiatives to exploit this potential are lagging behind. This is partly due to the existence of the NATO Mediterranean Dialogue, which makes duplications easier, and partly to lack of initiative or capabilities on the part of the EU. One underestimated obstacle to developing that potential may be the EU’s lingering perception of security cooperation as a functional process, i.e. a process reaching out to a security and political common ground in the framework of a community-like model of regional relations. This perception is clearly wrong, as no such functional link exists. If it did exist, we would live in a cooperative security world, whereas we live in a world of security cooperation. This erroneous European perception makes partner states remain aloof as, while willing to cooperate in the realm of security, they are not at all willing to assume the eventual political implications that derive from such cooperation, at the current point in time.

In more practical terms, this means that while joint action in Africa in the framework of some PSO can be easily contemplated by Euro-Mediterranean security cooperation today, the same is not true with regard to interventions in the Mediterranean and Arab regions. Today, this can happen under a UN rather than under an EU or Euro-Mediterranean umbrella.

From the point of view of the EU, this state of affairs, if considered in the inter-state cooperation environment that prevails today, is not a negative development. It can pave the way for the beginning of a new era of political cooperation tomorrow. This development is, in any case, an important building block in its strategy of effective multilateralism. It contributes to improving the inter-state environment in which Euro-Mediterranean relations are currently unfolding and making such relations more cooperative, secure and peaceful.

On the other hand, while security cooperation remains an important channel to regional and international cooperation, the increase in the EU’s security capabilities is an asset in itself. It allows the EU to respond to eventual requests from nations or the UN for initiating PSOs or participating in them. In particular, the ESDP – as well as police cooperation in the FSJ framework – enables the EU to respond to calls for contributing to manage or solve conflicts in the region, with or without participation from other Mediterranean countries. In this context, the EU has already accumulated positive experiences, which can set a hopeful precedent for the future.


The most relevant conclusion of this chapter is that the changes that took place in EU security policies towards the Mediterranean in the 2000s are the consequence of a tacit revision of strategies. While the strategic goal of the EU – its own stability and prosperity – remains unchanged, both the principal and auxiliary strategies have undergone shifts or alterations. The principal strategy – designed to foster the creation of a ring of friends in the southern neighbourhood – was expected to promote a group of countries organised within the framework of a regional organisation. Instead, it is currently promoting a group of countries having highly differentiated relations with the EU and only tenuously connected to one another by horizontal links. As for auxiliary strategies, while some of them – particularly in the field of reforms – are subject to constraints due to the principle of co-ownership and are implemented pragmatically, others have become seriously weak (like region-building) or have practically disappeared (like cooperative security). Effective multilateralism, in contrast, may become more significant in a context of multiplied efforts at cooperation through international relations channels. These alterations are reflected in and have been anticipated by changes in policy, at first by the ENP and then the UfM.

The overall change in the Euro-Mediterranean area (and neighbourhood) can be summed up by saying that the EU has more or less silently shifted from the attempt to achieve a paradigm of community-like relations to the implementation of a more conventional paradigm of inter-state relations based on international cooperation. This chapter argues that Euro-Mediterranean policies and strategies, as progressively altered in the past five years, can acquire coherence and effectiveness if embedded in the new perspective of international cooperation. Hence the importance of an open strategic revision, making it possible to devise and evaluate policies against the backdrop of present realities rather than based on the model of past unsuccessful projects.

In the new perspective of a region committed to the principle of international cooperation the areas in which efforts should be concentrated are effective multilateralism, the rule of law and human security, security cooperation and the building-up of EU security initiatives with regard to PSOs.

La sécurité humaine comme nouvelle perspective de coopération

Abdallah Saaf

Le Rapport arabe sur le développement humain de 2009, rendu public au début de l’été 2009, a porté sur les défis de la sécurité humaine dans les pays arabes1. La nouvelle livraison situe ces défis dans la faiblesse des structures politiques, sociales, économiques et environnementales de la région, dans l’absence de politiques de développement centrées sur la population, et dans la vulnérabilité de la région face aux interventions extérieures. Ces maux portent atteinte à la sécurité humaine, au fondement matériel et moral garantissant la vie, les moyens de subsistance et une qualité de vie acceptable pour la majorité de la population. La sécurité humaine apparaît comme une condition préalable au développement humain. Son absence dans les pays arabes est comprise comme un facteur d’involution dans ce domaine.

Selon ce Rapport, l’approche en termes de sécurité humaine constitue un champ de coopération prometteur entre les États de l’espace euro-méditerranéen tel qu’il est défini aujourd’hui. Il offre une grille de lecture du diagnostic de l’état actuel des droits, des libertés, et du processus de démocratisation, et permet d’esquisser certaines pistes à proposer aux politiques de coopération de part et d’autre de la Méditerranée.

La finalité de cette approche nouvelle est de faire en sorte que la protection de la vie des individus vivant dans ces États prenne le pas sur la question de l’intégrité de l’État jusqu’ici déterminante en matière de sécurité nationale. Le concept de sécurité humaine, complémentaire de celui de sécurité nationale, met essentiellement l’accent sur ce changement de perspective.

Nombre de pays arabes ont connu et connaissent de longues périodes de loi martiale, d’état d’urgence ou d’état d’exception, faisant des mesures provisoires la situation ordinaire. La déclaration de l’état d’urgence permet souvent de suspendre les droits fondamentaux et de libérer les régimes du respect des règles de droit. De plus, un grand nombre de pays arabes ont adopté, après le 11 septembre, des lois contre le terrorisme sur la base d’une définition trop large de celui-ci.

Cela a permis aux pouvoirs publics chargés de la sécurité de constituer une menace pour les libertés fondamentales, en autorisant des périodes indéfinies de détention préventive, en recourant souvent à la peine de mort, en limitant la liberté d’expression, en étendant les pouvoirs de la police en matière d’investigation, d’écoute et d’arrestation, en activant parfois les tribunaux militaires. Une politique qui a entraîné un grand déséquilibre entre la sécurité de la société et celle de l’individu.

La sécurité humaine est-elle renforcée lorsque l’État est le seul à disposer de moyens de coercition pour mener à bien son engagement à faire respecter les droits des individus, aussi bien ceux des citoyens que des non-citoyens ? C’est ce que préconise le Rapport arabe. Lorsque d’autres groupes s’emparent des moyens de coercition, les résultats vont rarement dans le sens de la sécurité des citoyens. Dans certains pays arabes, les autorités publiques se sont révélées incapables d’assurer la sécurité lors de leur confrontation avec des groupes armés. D’autres pays ont souffert de la violence armée dans laquelle certains de leurs citoyens, ou ceux d’autres États arabes, se sont retrouvés impliqués. De nombreux citoyens arabes vivent dans des situations de « non-liberté » sans droit à la libre expression et à la représentation, avec la persistance de la menace de violence par l’État à leur encontre. Il convient de relever à cet égard que c’est dans la région arabe que le niveau de protection contre la criminalité est aussi élevé. En dehors des cas d’occupation étrangère et de guerre civile, un taux relativement faible de criminalité violente reste la norme pour les pays arabes.

Les branches de l’exécutif, les services de sécurité et les forces armées non soumis au contrôle public, et encore moins au contrôle démocratique, représentent de sérieuses menaces pour la sécurité humaine. Nombreux sont les gouvernements arabes qui exercent un pouvoir absolu, et maintiennent leur emprise sur le pouvoir en accordant aux services de sécurité de l’État une marge de manoeuvre significative, au détriment des libertés et des droits fondamentaux des citoyens. Les services de sécurité opèrent souvent dans l’impunité, car ils sont indispensables aux chefs d’État et ne sont tenus de rendre des comptes qu’à ces derniers. Leurs pouvoirs sont renforcés par l’ingérence de l’exécutif dans le pouvoir judiciaire, par le contrôle pérenne de la majorité parlementaire par le parti au pouvoir, et par le musellement des médias.

À la lumière de ce qui précède, force est de constater que la relation entre l’État et la sécurité humaine dans la région n’est pas simple. Alors que l’État est supposé garantir la sécurité humaine, il a été, dans plusieurs pays arabes, une source de menace balayant les conventions internationales et les dispositions des constitutions nationales.

Dans les pays arabes, l’insécurité humaine dominante représente un frein au développement humain. Cette donnée apparaît dans l’impact de l’occupation militaire et des conflits armés en Irak, dans les territoires palestiniens occupés, en Somalie et au Soudan. Elle apparaît aussi dans les pays en apparence stables, où en général un État autoritaire, appuyé sur des constitutions et des lois dénuées de légitimité, viole souvent les droits des citoyens. L’insécurité humaine s’incarne également dans les changements climatiques rapides qui comportent le risque de priver les populations arabes de moyens de vie, de revenus, de nourriture et d’eau dans les années à venir. Elle se traduit également par la vulnérabilité économique d’importantes proportions de la population de la région, où les plus pauvres sont menacés par la faim et le besoin. L’insécurité humaine apparaît par ailleurs dans le nombre croissant de jeunes chômeurs souvent marginalisés, les difficultés liées au statut de la femme, le plus souvent considérée comme une subordonnée, et la situation des réfugiés dans la région.

Ainsi perçue, la sécurité humaine apparaît comme l’arrière-plan stratégique du développement humain. Celui-ci s’attache au renforcement des capacités et des chances des individus, tandis que la sécurité humaine se préoccupe plus de l’aptitude des peuples à endiguer ou éviter les menaces sur la vie, les moyens de subsistance et la dignité humaine.

La sécurité humaine en question est définie ici au sens du rapport de la Commission sur la sécurité humaine, en termes d’absence de crainte et de volonté de vivre librement et dans la dignité. Le Rapport arabe reprend cette définition de la sécurité humaine comme « libération des êtres humains de menaces intenses, importantes et persistantes auxquelles leur vie et leur liberté sont exposées ». Ces définitions mettent en évidence les pressions sur les ressources environnementales, la performance de l’État en termes de garantie ou d’atteinte à la sécurité humaine, l’insécurité propre aux groupes vulnérables, la pauvreté et le chômage, la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition, la santé et la sécurité humaine, l’insécurité généralisée liée à l’occupation et aux interventions militaires étrangères.

Dans la littérature sur la sécurité humaine, des écrits ont déjà averti sur les risques de sécuritisation généralisée portée par cette approche. Il est entendu qu’elle n’est prise en considération ici que pour autant qu’elle serve les droits de l’homme et la démocratisation.

S’inscrivant dans le contexte de la volonté des États et des sociétés arabes de relever les nouveaux défis globaux, l’approche en termes de sécurité humaine à l’oeuvre aujourd’hui dans la région, comme dans d’autres régions du monde, s’inscrit dans une tentative d’élaboration du concept au plan politique, mais aussi dans les sphères universitaires et intellectuelles de la région, ainsi que parmi les acteurs de la société civile. Elle se rattache aussi à la volonté de renforcer la sécurité humaine dans la région arabe par l’élaboration de politiques appropriées, l’analyse et la coopération stratégique et la création de conditions favorables à une large diffusion du débat sur le concept de sécurité humaine dans l’ensemble de la région arabe. Ces objectifs sont définis pour être intégrés dans les différentes phases du projet économique, social et culturel de la région, et liés aux résultats des initiatives prises précédemment dans ce domaine. Cette approche ne peut donc que constituer un champ fertile de coopération entre les partenaires du projet euro-méditerranéens.

Comme nouveau paradigme de la sécurité, la sécurité humaine consiste à tenter de conceptualiser le passage d’une approche des États centrée sur la sécurité des États eux-mêmes à une approche centrée sur la sécurité des individus. Selon cette approche, les individus peuvent être menacés autant par leur propre État, susceptible à tout instant de se retourner contre eux, que par des groupes transnationaux. Dans le contexte actuel de la menace, l’exigence de sécurité ne se laisse plus seulement énoncer dans des termes territoriaux. Elle tend à s’universaliser en s’individualisant. L’individu et sa vulnérabilité face aux excès des forces étatiques et/ou criminelles imposent de rechercher un nouveau paradigme de la protection.

La naissance de la préoccupation de sécurité humaine n’a pas été facile dans le contexte arabe. Elle y paraît même tardive. Si les débats qui s’y sont engagés sur les nouveaux défis auxquels celle-ci est confrontée semblent avoir été bien lents à émerger et à y prendre racine, cette lenteur peut être expliquée par les doutes émis autour de ce concept. Celui-ci a été utilisé pour faire avancer des agendas qui, pour de nombreux acteurs, ne semblaient pas nécessairement répondre aux intérêts collectifs arabes du moment. De plus, compte tenu des problématiques auxquelles sont aujourd’hui confrontées les sociétés arabes, ses liens avec la question de la démocratie et les droits de l’homme semblent souvent suspects aux yeux des acteurs de la région, comme cela fut d’ailleurs le cas récemment pour de nombreuses initiatives telles que les multiples projets allant de « l’éducation aux droits de l’homme » à « la démocratie » et à « la paix », à travers l’histoire mouvementée des conflits vécus par le monde arabe. Ce qui précède semble donc a priori entraver la diffusion d’une culture basée sur la sécurité humaine.

Paradoxalement, les débats survenus à la suite des grandes « nakassates », comme les guerres israélo-arabes (1967, et les suivantes), des catastrophes humaines comme celles de l’Irak (les différentes guerres du Golfe) ont déjà préparé le terrain pour l’appropriation de ce concept dans la région. Dans la phase actuelle, le monde arabe semble être devenu plus mûr pour cette appropriation, par le travail des États et des acteurs civils, de manière inégale, avec des contenus et des effets variables, par le biais de l’introduction de corpus de normes, l’acceptation de normes internationales, la création d’institutions, l’accumulation de pratiques, etc.

La difficulté de faire passer ce thème dans le contexte arabe est par ailleurs liée à la faiblesse doctrinale caractérisant le concept de sécurité humaine de manière générale, et surtout à son manque d’enracinement historique. Les effets des courants oeuvrant pour les droits de l’homme dans la région depuis quelques décennies sont manifestes, en plus des restructurations par les processus sociaux à l’oeuvre dans la réalité, tels que les dynamiques d’individualisation et d’autonomisation des personnes, et les formes multiples de sortie du communautarisme.

La sécurité humaine est étroitement liée aux droits de l’homme dans la mesure où le respect des droits fondamentaux des individus crée des conditions favorables. Il convient tout de même de situer la problématique de la sécurité humaine dans le contexte arabe actuel, par rapport à celle de la démocratisation et des droits de l’homme, dans la perspective de la réélaboration du concept de sécurité nationale, à travers la question toujours primordiale de la menace terroriste.

En termes de niveau de sécurité humaine parmi les citoyens arabes, l’État peut être considéré comme un élément de solution. Les performances des États arabes peuvent être mesurées sur la base de normes associées à la bonne gouvernance. Une autre voie consiste à essayer de comprendre si les citoyens des États arabes reconnaissent ou non la légitimité de ces États, et si ces derniers défendent et garantissent les droits à la vie et à la liberté de leurs citoyens et les protègent contre les agressions. Ces critères sont l’acceptation de l’État par ses propres citoyens, le respect par l’État des conventions internationales relatives aux droits de l’homme, la manière dont l’État exerce son monopole de la contrainte légitime, la mesure dans laquelle les contrôles et les équilibres institutionnels limitent les abus de pouvoir. Mais, dans bien des cas, l’État semble être davantage une menace pour la sécurité humaine que son principal protecteur.

La sécurité s’affirme d’abord au regard des questions d’identité, de diversité et de citoyenneté telles qu’elles se posent dans la région. Les frontières de nombreux États arabes, englobant des groupes ethniques, religieux et linguistiques devenus minoritaires après la réalisation de l’indépendance, reflètent souvent les complexités de la construction étatique dans la région. Peu de pays arabes de la rive sud de la Méditerranée ont connu une transition vers plus d’intégration nationale après l’indépendance. On remarque qu’au contraire, une forte tendance nationaliste a développé l’objectif de dissimuler la diversité de la population et soumettre l’hétérogénéité culturelle, linguistique et religieuse aux structures du pouvoir. La plupart des États n’ont réussi à mettre en place ni un État de droit et une gouvernance démocratique, ni des institutions représentatives assurant l’intégration, une répartition équitable des ressources symboliques et matériels entre les groupes sociaux, ethniques et culturels. Aussi, dans certains pays arabes, des groupes identitaires ont cherché à se libérer du poids de l’État-nation où ils vivaient. Ce rejet de la légitimité de l’État vivant sur une hégémonie culturelle unilatérale, héritée et perpétuée par les pays arabes contemporains, s’est accompagné de conflits menaçant la sécurité humaine. Nombre d’États de la région ont réagi à ces conflits en mettant en place des contrôles autoritaires.

Pour les États arabes, le processus de formation de la citoyenneté est lent, comparable au processus occidental qui a permis la gestion de la diversité ethnique, culturelle et linguistique. Quelques États de la région seulement présentent un niveau de conscience civique permettant aux citoyens de résoudre eux-mêmes leurs différends de manière pacifique, sans leur intervention.

Dans les pays arabes, les différences ethniques, religieuses, communautaires et linguistiques s’accompagnent souvent de luttes incessantes, surtout dans les pays où la population est hétérogène. Dans des pays comme l’Irak, le Liban, la Somalie et le Soudan, les appartenances ethniques, religieuses et tribales constituent les critères sur la base desquels les communautés se sont mobilisées pour réclamer l’intégration ou la séparation. Cette mobilisation a été destructrice et déstabilisante, et a mis en péril la sécurité et l’intégrité des États. Ce sont ces conflits qui ont engendré le plus grand nombre de pertes humaines dans les pays arabes.

L’identité n’est pas en soi la cause d’un conflit ni même la principale source de tensions entre les différents groupes de la région. Les affrontements en apparence liés à des questions d’identité s’expliquent en définitive par l’accès inégal au pouvoir politique et à la richesse, à l’absence de participation politique représentative, et à la répression de la diversité culturelle et linguistique. Souvent, ces conflits sont initiés par l’usage par les classes politiques, à des fins idéologiques, des liens entre des groupes se partageant des sentiments d’exclusion, de privation et de discrimination.

Les restrictions législatives et réglementaires de la dernière phase de l’exercice de certains droits et libertés, dues, entre autres, aux contraintes conjuguées de la lutte anti-terroriste et de la gestion des flux migratoires – l’ensemble de la « législation d’exception » produite dans les pays nord-méditerranéens – ont eu un effet de miroir régressif sur le corpus normatif et réglementaire relatif aux droits de l’homme dans les pays arabes de la rive Sud. Ce corpus étant lui-même initialement fragile, l’effet de miroir est particulièrement ressenti non seulement en termes de dégradation des normes applicables, mais surtout au niveau des pratiques. La dégradation est proportionnelle au degré d’intensification, de marchandisation et de professionnalisation du terrorisme.

Par ailleurs, de nombreux États arabes ont signé les grandes conventions internationales relatives aux droits de l’homme stipulant à la fois le droit à la vie et le droit à la liberté. L’obligation d’aligner les législations et les pratiques nationales avec ces conventions est souvent peu respectée. Par exemple, la peine de mort, en dépit d’une tendance universelle vers son abolition et sa condamnation par le système des Nations unies, reste largement pratiquée dans plusieurs pays arabes. Elle ne se limite pas aux crimes les plus graves et sa mise en oeuvre n’est pas exclue pour les crimes de nature politique.

De plus, en n’étant pas conformes aux normes internationales prévues dans les conventions signées par les pays arabes, les constitutions compromettent le niveau de sécurité humaine dans les pays concernés. Les constitutions arabes retiennent des formules idéologiques ou doctrinales vidant les dispositions relatives aux droits et libertés de leur contenu. Elles justifient la violation des droits individuels au nom de l’idéologie officielle ou de la foi. D’autres constitutions, lorsqu’elles évoquent de manière ambiguë la liberté d’opinion et d’expression, tendent plus à la restreindre qu’à l’autoriser. Les constitutions des pays arabes confient régulièrement à l’État le soin de définir l’étendue des droits à travers les textes réglementaires. Elles rendent ainsi possible la violation des libertés et des droits individuels au moment de les traduire dans une loi ordinaire. Alors que les lois et constitutions arabes ne prescrivent pas la discrimination entre les citoyens sur la base de la langue, la religion, la croyance, ou la confession, la discrimination contre les femmes est évidente dans les textes législatifs de plusieurs pays.

Dans de nombreux pays, se dégagent différents degrés de répression et de restriction liés à la création et au fonctionnement de partis politiques, notamment des partis d’opposition, pouvant aller jusqu’à leur interdiction7. Tous les pays arabes, à une seule exception, soutiennent le droit de constitution d’associations civiles. Cependant, la plupart des régimes juridiques et des règlements qui régissent et réglementent le secteur de la société civile incluent un grand nombre de dispositions restrictives limitant l’exercice de ce droit. La formation et le fonctionnement des associations font face à des restrictions souvent draconiennes. Les organisations elles-mêmes, ou leurs instances, peuvent être frappées d’interdiction par l’État, et leurs affiliations ou sources de financement peuvent être soumis à des contrôles « musclés ».

Autre dimension de la sécurité humaine, l’ensemble des systèmes judiciaires arabes souffrent, d’une manière ou d’une autre, d’atteintes à leur indépendance. Cela est généralement dû à la prédominance de l’exécutif sur les pouvoirs législatif et judiciaire. La multiplication des Cours de sûreté de l’État et des tribunaux militaires, qui constituent une négation de la règle de justice naturelle et portent atteinte aux garanties d’un procès équitable, constitue une grave entrave à la justice du point de vue de la sécurité humaine. Un écart considérable ressort entre les textes constitutionnels et la pratique juridique réelle en matière de protection de la sécurité personnelle des citoyens dans le monde arabe.

Une recherche sur la sécurité et ses secteurs dans les pays arabes place l’analyse immédiatement face au phénomène de l’émergence d’un concept de sécurité plus civil, lié à la problématique de la transition, des réformes politiques, qui est le fait aussi bien des États que des acteurs de la société civile. Parfois, mais dans des cas fort limités, des éléments de discours et de pratiques développés par certains États vis-à-vis de leurs adversaires étatiques (ou autres) peuvent apparaître comme des armes de combat utilisés afin de les mettre à mal par la nature des choix politiques démocratiques, ou l’argument des droits de l’homme. Déclarer ses choix démocratiques et les pratiquer peut être paradoxalement effectué dans un sens sécuritaire. Créer un rapport de force avantageux en jetant à la face de l’ennemi le défi de la démocratisation que celui-ci paraît ne pas pouvoir relever est sans doute une chose positive du point de vue du mouvement positif de l’histoire mais son contenu, qu’il soit tactique, sécuritaire ou rhétorique, n’en est pas moins évident.

À partir des années 1950, l’Amérique latine a constitué l’arène principale de ce lien entre sécurité et démocratisation. Vingt ans plus tard, on commençait à parler du succès de l’Espagne, du Portugal et de la Grèce dans ce domaine. Le rapprochement établi entre processus de transition démocratique et mouvement de civilianisation semble s’être approfondi. Ainsi, des dictatures militaires ou totalitaires ont procédé à des changements structurels au sein de leurs États, de façon à supprimer l’autonomie des secteurs de sécurité et d’assurer leur contrôle démocratique. Les ministères de la défense existent depuis longtemps dans plusieurs pays de la région sans avoir permis jusque là une véritable prise de contrôle civil des dispositifs de sécurité (appareils militaires, polices, services de renseignement, etc.), ce qui fait du champ des relations entre civils et militaires un espace prometteur de réformes.

Les dispositifs déjà établis ou qui continuent à se mettre en place à l’échelle internationale peuvent accentuer l’évolution en ce sens. Ceux instaurés par la coopération internationale telle que le Pogar (PNUD), ou l’instrument de stabilité institué par le Parlement européen et le Conseil en novembre 2007, peuvent constituer des outils significatifs dans l’approche des questions liées à la défense et à la sécurité et aux conséquences de leurs applications. Un groupement comme l’Union européenne est du reste relativement bien perçu comme une puissance à caractère civil, bien qu’elle ne semble pas, vue du Sud, développer une politique de sécurité propre à ce type de puissance civile. Tout en restant une puissance civile, elle semble en effet davantage préoccupée de mener une politique de projection de réflexes défensifs.

Plusieurs niveaux d’intervention sont possibles. Citons entre autres :

• Les réformes constitutionnelles sous forme de dotation en constitutions, de nouvelles dispositions constitutionnelles, ou de révision des dispositions déjà existantes. La mise en place de systèmes politiques avec des pouvoirs exécutifs responsables et des systèmes parlementaires efficaces.

• La reconsidération de la place du droit, l’élargissement des libertés, la construction de l’État de droit, la libéralisation des règles du jeu politique, de chartes consensuelles dans les secteurs clés de la société.

• L’adhésion aux principes des droits de l’homme, et le rejet des arrangements fondés sur les spécificités culturelles et la manipulation du sentiment national. La tolérance à l’égard des différentes religions et des divers courants de pensée. L’inclusion dans les constitutions des pays arabes de dispositions garantissant le pluralisme intellectuel et le multipartisme avec des partis politiques fondés sur le principe de la citoyenneté.

• La fin de la loi martiale, l’abolition des lois et tribunaux d’urgence, la fin de la pratique de la torture, la réforme des lois qui sont incompatibles avec la liberté de pensée et d’expression, et la mise en oeuvre complète et la consolidation de l’état de droit.

• L’aménagement des statuts permettant la consolidation des acteurs, en particulier ceux des partis politiques et de la société civile ; dans des sociétés où la politique est encore faible, le renforcement des processus de participation des gouvernés, des administrés.

• L’organisation de la vie politique en termes de systèmes électoraux, de représentation, de participation et de suite à la mise en valeur des résultats des élections en termes de formation de la majorité, du gouvernement, des oppositions.

• La consolidation de la bonne gouvernance de l’ensemble de la vie politique : les politiques publiques sectorielles, notamment ceux de la justice, de l’éducation, de l’administration, moralisation de la vie publique.

• Le passage d’un concept de sécurité discrétionnaire à un concept de sécurité humaine où les individus se sentent d’abord en sécurité, et où la sécurité nationale est contrôlée démocratiquement.

Ces niveaux d’intervention réformiste constituent autant de champs pour la coopération euro-méditerranéenne. Elles permettent de revitaliser un processus de coopération déjà entamé et balisé par les accumulations faites dans le cadre du processus de Barcelone. Quelques pistes de travail en commun se dégagent comme, par exemple, l’externalisation de la sécurité, à travers les missions de maintien de la paix dans les régions en conflictualité. Une autre direction des politiques publiques de coopération entre le nord et le sud de la région euro-méditerranéenne est le vaste domaine de la réforme de secteur de sécurité.

About the authors

Roberto Aliboni is Vice-President at the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) in Rome and head of the Institute’s programme on the Mediterranean and the Middle East. He taught International Economics at the Universities of Naples and Perugia from 1972 to 1979 and held research positions in different Institutes. In 1994, he conceived the idea of and successfully established the Mediterranean Study Commission (MeSCo), the network of Mediterranean Institutes dealing with international and security affairs (which was transformed into the Euro-Mediterranean Study Commission-EuroMeSCo in 1996). He has published numerous articles and books.

Atila Eralp is Director of the Center for European Studies at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara where he holds the Jean Monnet Chair on the Politics of European Integration. His research interests include the EU enlargement process, neighbourhood policy and EU-Turkish relations. Professor Eralp has published numerous articles and books on these issues.

Abdallah Saaf est Directeur du Centre d’études et de recherche en sciences sociales de Rabat et professeur de sciences politiques à l’Université Mohammed V. Auparavant, il a été doyen de la faculté de sciences juridiques, économiques et sociales, ministre de l’éducation nationale, président de l’Association marocaine de sciences politiques et président du Forum civil démocratique marocain. Il est directeur de la revue marocaine de sciences sociales Abhat et l’auteur de nombreux ouvrages, dont L’Espérance de l’État Moderne du Maroc.