Western military planners are examining options for deposing Gaddafi. But somebody also needs to think about an international peace operation to stabilise Libya, whether to oversee the dictator's negotiated exit or clean up afterwards. Could this be a role for a UN-mandated EU?
Middle East and North Africa
The EU needs to act on Libya. If it doesn't, the consequences for Europe – in terms of migration, energy revenues and support for terrorism – could be disasterous. Here are eight concrete steps that European leaders should consider taking.
Tunisians see Europe as complicit with the old regime of President Ben Ali, and were disappointed by the slow reaction of European leaders to their revolution. But they are willing to forgive, if their neighbours to the north makes amends by offering prompt and generous help as they rebuild their country.
Tunisia's democrats have made an amazing start, after launching the wave of popular uprisings that are continuing to rock the Arab world. But they worry that the world will forget them as they embark upon the massive project of rebuilding a new Tunisia.
Libya is in chaos, and Colonel Gaddafi seems determined to hang on to power at any expense. But he has already lost control of large swathes of the country, the security forces and bureaucracy, and it is not premature to start planning for a post-Gaddafi Libya.
If there ever was a need and an opportunity for Europe to show its muscles, Colonel Gaddafi is providing one. The test is a different one for the EU after the turmoil in Tunisia, Egypt and beyond, but European leaders can no longer look the other way.
The fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in Egypt has not so much given Israel a headache as a migraine. Europe – and Germany in particular – needs to play a leading role in reassuring Israel and keeping Middle East peace on track.
For all the talk of a 'global Europe', the EU struggles to influence its neighbours in the Eastern Mediterranean. Its uncertainty over Egypt is indicative of a wider loss of direction in the EU's regional policies.
Europe went through its own year of democratic revolutions in 1989, yet its reaction to events in north Africa has lacked passion and purpose. European leaders meeting for a summit in Brussels must seize the opportunity to commit themselves to a strategy that puts them firmly on the side of democracy in the Middle East.
EU member states worry too much about speaking with one voice. But endless unified expressions of 'interest and concern' about the situation in Tunisia and Egypt show that the problem is that others aren't listening because we often have little to say.