20 Feb '11, 3am

Europe rethinks policy on southern Mediterranean rim

BRUSSELS: Europe rethinks relations with its southern Mediterranean rim this week, sending its top diplomat to Egypt and reassessing aid priorities to avoid being seen as turning a blind eye to authoritarian regimes. After pro-democracy revolts toppled the Western-backed leaders of Tunisia and Egypt, reform fever is now sweeping across Europe's Arab backyard, spreading to Bahrain, Libya, Jordan or Yemen. European Union foreign ministers, criticised for reacting more slowly than the United States to the popular pressure that drove Zine El Abidine and Hosni Mubarak to quit, want to regain the initiative and deliver a new type of partnership. They start the ball rolling over dinner on Sunday in Brussels, debating over two days how to tie future economic assistance to democratic reforms, human rights progress and good governance standards. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ash...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/111...

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