Written as a follow-up to a closed roundtable discussion at the GLOBSEC 2014 conference (May 14 - 16, 2014) in Bratislava, this policy brief discusses the conflict between the right to self-determination and the inviolability of state borders.
The changes brought about by the Arab revolutions of 2011–2012 were unprecedented in scope and nature. Initially, Egyptian and Tunisian citizens revolted against sclerotic governments and corrupt elites. When elections were held, liberal forces appeared fragmented and lacked popular credibility, while the far better organized Islamist forces – the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Ennahda in Tunisia – became the dominant political forces. Political confusion ensued and fundamental changes are slow in coming.
In theory, the four Visegrad countries (Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic) are well suited to help the Mediterranean countries during a transition to democracy. The V4 moved away from authoritarian rule themselves a generation ago, and their officials, envoys, advisors and civic society activists have relevant expertise and a natural empathy with those in North Africa and the Middle East looking to liberalise their societies.