See this New York Times piece on the European Union's mixed-bag policy suggestions on the current turmoil in North Africa. EU leaders have in recent days spent much fretting over the prospective masses of immigrants from the Mediterranean's southern crescent. The article underscores the particular concern that the possible collapse of the government in Libya could unleash "chaos and anarchy," which may in turn prompt huge flows of migrants into southern Italy and other European nations from that point on.
The British foreign secretary William Hague has signaled that the North African situation has far broader implications for EU foreign policy, terming it a “major test, a historic test for the EU.”
“Clearly if we can succeed in bringing more democracy and more stability to North Africa and the Middle East that will be the greatest achievement for the E.U. since enlargement,” he added, referring to the bloc’s expansion to bring in former Communist states. “If we don’t succeed, the dangers to the E.U. of instability or extremism on our frontiers are immense.”
Other EU chiefs moved beyond hypotheticals and toward crippling financial restrictions for Libyan leaders who may be considering flight from the country. There is an implication the same would hold true for other government officials in the region, though whether other EU seniors will rally behind the pronounced position seems politically unlikely.
A few EU politicians voiced benevolent, if politically unrealistic, aspirations to have functional democracy materialize in nations so long accustomed to authoritarian rule.
"Belgium’s foreign minister, Steven Vanackere, suggested that European parliamentarians should help countries like Egypt to develop a parliamentary system."
Also see how protests in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, were fought off with troops and warplanes on Monday, Feb. 21. In a symbolic shift in political capital, Libya's diplomats at the U.N. openly renounced Col. Muammar El-Qaddafi, the country's leader since the 1980s, called for his resignation and calling him a genocidal war criminal for his violent crackdown on protesters.