in: Orient II 2022, “Germany’s role in the MENA region: Between continuity and change”
“Democracy promotion” is one of the key stated goals of German foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). However, despite considerable financial investments by Germany as well as other European states and the US, political systems in the MENA region remain authoritarian. While Arab public support for democracy is high – a 2018 report showed that eight in ten Arabs believe that democracy is the best system of government – authoritarian regimes have been adept at co-opting, managing and repressing both internal demands for and external efforts at democratisation. Should external attempts at “democracy promotion” then be abandoned, reformed or intensified? What role, if any at all, can or should it play in a values-based German foreign policy?