Why the EU needs a Special Representative to Respond to the Arab Spring

The European Union and its member states continue to struggle to find a response to the Arab Spring, write former DAAD/AICGS Fellow Almut Möller and Cornelius Adebahr. Past policy approaches had little impact on the area’s regimes, if anything doing more to support them than reform them. In this report for the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), the authors argue that the EU should reorient its policies and utilize one of its established and successful foreign policy instruments and name an EU Special Representative for North Africa.

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The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.

Almut Möller

European Council on Foreign Relations

Almut Möller is a political scientist and currently a senior policy fellow and head of the European Council on Foreign Relations’ (ECFR) Berlin office. She has published widely on European affairs, foreign and security policy, and Germany’s role in the EU, and is a frequent commentator in the international media. Almut started her career in the think tank world at the Centre for Applied Policy Research at LMU University in Munich (1999-2008), where she focused on EU institutions and reform, and later on EU foreign policy. She then worked as an independent political analyst in London, focusing on EU-Middle East relations (2008-2010). Before joining ECFR she led the Europe program at the German Council on Foreign Relations/DGAP (2010-2015). Research fellowships have taken her to Renmin University of China in Beijing, the Al Ahram Center for Political and Security Studies in Cairo and the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C., where she continues to engage as a non-resident fellow. Almut is a member of the extended board of Women in International Security (WIIS.de) and a member of the 14th Advisory Board “Innere Führung” of the German Federal Ministry of Defense.

She is a 2016-2017 participant in AICGS’ project “A German-American Dialogue of the Next Generation: Global Responsibility, Joint Engagement,” sponsored by the Transatlantik-Programm der Bundesrepublik Deutschland aus Mitteln des European Recovery Program (ERP) des Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi).

Cornelius Adebahr

Dr. Cornelius Adebahr was a Visiting Fellow at AICGS from October to December 2013. During his fellowship, Dr. Adebahr analyzed the transatlantic partners‘ current approach toward Iran and the country’s disputed nuclear program. Following a two-year stay in Tehran, he assessed the latest openings made by Iran’s newly elected president, Ayatollah Rouhani. In addition, he looked at ways how the United States—particularly Congress—could support a potential agreement that would see a gradual phase out of the current international sanctions. Ultimately, a compromise would have to see both sides giving up some of their more extreme demands in order to settle for the common ground around their respective core interests.

Dr. Adebahr is a political scientist and entrepreneur; he lives in Washington, DC, and Berlin, Germany. Since the end of 2000, he has been the owner of Wirtschaft am Wasserturm, a political consultancy firm. Among his clients are major company-affiliated foundations as well as not-for-profit associations and European institutions. In addition, Cornelius Adebahr has been affiliated with the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) since January 2006, and is currently an Associate Fellow. He is also a columnist with the Global Policy Journal published by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

As a fellow of the Stiftung Neue Verantwortung from 2009 to 2011, Dr. Adebahr headed two research teams on “geopolitics and the financial crisis” and “raw materials strategy.” He has taught at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy at Erfurt University and the Faculty for World Studies of Tehran University. Furthermore, from 2003 to 2011, he was a member of Team Europe, an experts’ network of the European Commission.

Cornelius Adebahr was a scholar of the European Foreign and Security Policy Studies Program of the Volkswagen Foundation, Compagnia di San Paolo, and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond as well as of the Postgraduate Program in International Affairs by the Robert Bosch Foundation and the German National Merit Foundation. He studied International Relations, Philosophy, Public Law, and International Economics in Tübingen and Paris and earned his PhD at the Free University Berlin.