EU-MENA Cooperation Key for Transitioning States, Says Bulgarian ex-FM
Bulgaria's ex-Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov was a guest speaker at the 4th edition of the Sofia Platform, where he discussed the effects of the Arab revolutions.
Mladenov, who is currently the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Iraq, opened this year's conference, on the topic of democratic transitions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and their parallels with the experience of Central and Eastern Europe.
In his opening remarks, the former minister outlined the key challenges ahead of the MENA countries in their transitions. The first and foremost is creating accountability and justice among the political elites, without which a stable democracy cannot exist.
As a second precondition, Mladenov described the importance of social cohesion, through addressing poverty and marginalization.
Responding to a question of Novinite.com on the incentives for reform, Mladenov agreed that while the main stimulus for post-Socialist states in Europe had always been potential EU integration, this uniting factor is absent in the MENA region.
"The key here is broader engagement with the EU, on various levels. The EU's 3M (money, mobility, markets) policy is geared towards stimulating the Arab states in transition and could prove to be the remedy for their troubled economies", said Mladenov.
Asked whether a strong bloc of MENA states, resembling the EU could be formed, Mladenov commented that this would be an ideal scenario, but one which seems possible only in the distant future.
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