The EU must have a clear position on the Middle East and use its political and economic clout to help the region out of its current impasse as Israeli-Palestinian violence escalates, say academic experts.
“The EU should be more resolute in using the means it already has as a civilian power,” Alain Dierkhoff, senior research fellow at the Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales in Paris, told the Centre for European Policy Studies, a Brussels-based think-tank.
“The EU should stress that security must be linked with the political process,” said Dierkhoff, adding that a combination of economic pressure and diplomacy was needed to persuade the Palestinian Authority to crack down on militants and the Israelis to freeze settlement building.
“If the US must play the role of ‘bad cop', Europe can play the role of ‘good cop',” said Anthony Cordesman, a strategist at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Cordesman suggested that to complement the United States on issues of security, the EU could use its stronger historic ties with the region to focus on the non-military aspects of dialogue, diplomacy, investment, trade and aid.
This article appeared in the 11 March 2002 issue of European Voice.