chapter  7
The EU and the US reactions to the Arab Spring 2011: (new) response to a changing Middle East and North Africa
ByASSEM DANDASHLY
Pages 21

Introduction For the last two decades, the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) have claimed to be unwavering in their support of democratic reforms in the former communist countries and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). However, the West asserted that the economic, political and social failures of the MENA regimes have served as the breeding ground for an increase in terrorist activities, contributing to attacks all over the globe (see Youngs 2006). Therefore, prior to the Arab Spring, the EU’s priority was security and stability, even if that meant turning a blind eye to the Arab leaders’ neglect of democratic principles. The same is mostly true for the US, whose approach also favours stability and alliances with the authoritarian elites at the expense of applying pressure to initiate democratic reforms.