Europe in the World

EUSpring Project


EUSpring | Arab Views on Democratic Citizenship - and on EU Support

28 October 2015
Rosa Balfour (Senior Adviser to EPC on Europe in the World) and Richard Youngs (Senior Associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Programme, Carnegie Europe)



Much has been said about the EU’s general response to the Arab spring. And much has been written about regimes’ resistance to the far-reaching reform demanded by protestors across the Arab world. We have been engaged in a project (www.euspring.com) exploring one very specific dimension of these political trends and social debates: the question of how citizens in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) understand the concept of democratic citizenship.

Within our project, our local affiliated research organizations ran throughout 2014 a series of focus groups in Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia with a range of civic stakeholders. The aim of these meetings was to explore how citizens in the three countries understand democratic citizenship and how they view EU efforts to support political reform.

This paper is published in the framework of the EUSpring project on Democracy and Citizenship in North Africa after the Arab Awakening: Challenges for EU and US Foreign Policy (www.euspring.com). The project is carried out by a consortium of organisations, including the European Policy Centre, University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, The German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights, the Centre for Mediterranean and International Studies in Tunisia and the Centre de Recherche sur l'Afrique et la Méditerranée in Morocco and coordinated by Università degli Studi L’Orientale in Naples. The project is supported by the Compagnia di San Paolo.

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