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"The European Parliament's Reaction to the Arab Spring"

Public and Parliamentary Diplomacy Efforts in the Southern Mediterranean

CIS hosts Visiting European Union Fellow Michael Reinprecht.
Chair: Patrick James, USC  ABSTRACT: At the onset of the popular upheaval in Tunisia, Egypt and other MENA countries in the first weeks of 2011 when mass demonstrations and uprisings in many Arab countries had taken Europe completely by surprise, the European Parliament had to react. It had to react fast and efficiently to stay true to its ambition to defend and promote democratic values, in particular the rule of law, freedom of speech and assembly, respect for human rights – and above all supporting emerging parliamentary democracies.  Michael Reinprecht will discuss concrete public and parliamentary diplomacy activities of the European Parliament in the Southern Mediterranean and its interaction with the EU’s diplomacy arm, the European External Action Service. The seminar will cover the immediate reaction of the European Parliament to the “Arab Awakening” and its’ very recent efforts in the Southern Neighborhood as well as look into the impact these activities had to the region, to democracy building and the transformation process many MENA countries are undergoing today.  BIO: Michael Reinprecht is an EU-official (European Parliament) and former Austrian Diplomat. He is currently Visiting EU fellow at the USC School of International Relations. His research interest focus on the impact of the European Parliament’s reaction to the Arab Spring, international relations, public and parliamentary diplomacy as well as political communications. His most recent position (since March 2007) is the Head of the European Parliament’s Middle East Department. Former positions include Director of the Information Office of the European Parliament in Austria (1995-2007), Press Officer during Austria’s EU-Membership negotiations at the Austrian EU-Mission in Brussels (1990-1995), and alia lecturer at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, the Innsbruck University, and the Mediterranean Academy for Diplomatic Studies in Malta.