"The Lisbon Treaty, which should have provided the EU with a better toolbox in addressing foreign policy challenges, has not lived up to its expectations, partly due to resurgent foreign policy re-nationalization by some member states and partly to the lack of clear leadership from Catherine Ashton. The fact that Britain and France took the lead in pushing for UN Security Council resolutions authorizing a no-fly zone and then a military intervention has constituted a late but powerful response to the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. Franco-British convergence has strengthened over this crisis, at a time of uncertainty over the future of European defense.
One can only hope that this foreign policy crisis will push Brussels adopting a more ambitious and comprehensive strategy towards North Africa, one that tackles not just economic governance, democratic developments, and migration agreements, but a broader political vision for Europe. The two Communications elaborated by the European Commission between March and May aimed at reshaping the European Neighborhood Policy go a step in this direction, substantially increasing the political engagement in supporting democracy and human rights’ progress in neighboring countries from the outset of contractual relations. So far, however, this is falling short from implying a coherent European strategy towards the region. This would need an intra-regional ongoing multilateral dialogue among MENA countries, more resources, less duplication among European and different European states’ democracy promotion policies, and a more forceful action to solve the Middle East Peace Process, to be tied in both Israel and the Palestinian Authority’s ENP Action Plans. In recent weeks, the EU is clearly trying harder to come to the forefront, by acknowledging the rebel transitional government, setting up an office in Benghazi, and sending the Polish Foreign Minister there to show forward-looking attention to the southern Mediterranean under the upcoming EU Presidency. If the EU learns by doing and by making mistakes, as the experience with the Balkans might suggest, Brussels might be on the right path to show more dynamism with its southern neighborhood." LINK