The European Endowment for Democracy (EED) has organised an online webinar on the theme ‘Can dialogue foster real change? How think tanks and civil society can influence decision-makers in North Africa’. The event brought together experts from the region to discuss the ongoing socio-economic and health crisis in the Maghreb opportunities and challenges for dialogue and change. This webinar is part of a series of events by EED in occasion of the 10-year anniversary of the Arab Spring.
The moderator Zied Boussen, Research Fellow at Arab Reform Initiative in Tunis, opened up the conversation by reflecting on Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria after the turmoil of 2011 noting how the ‘winds of freedom’ that started with the Arab Spring blow still, but how threats to social justice, open dialogue and liberties very much remain. There is little space for dialogue and people of all three countries feel that their situation has remained unchanged.
The moderator asked the speakers to explain the current situation in their respective countries, to note current and future political dynamics and to reflect on the types of dialogue they witnessed and how think tanks and civil society can shape and influence decision-making.
In her conclusive remarks, Rosamaria Gili, Head of the Maghreb Unit at the European External Action Service (EEAS), argued that EU institutions see dialogue as the only sustainable factor for change and that developments have to be based on the fundamentals: the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.