Europe\u2019s role in crises in the Middle East has generally gone through ups and downs, fluctuating between dynamism and inertia, <a href="https:\/\/www.salemalketbi.com\/en\/about-us" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Dr. Salem Al Ketbi<\/a> says.\r\n\r\nIn the Syrian crisis, for example, Europe\u2019s voice is largely absent, with the exception of efforts to divert Turkish Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan from his threats and incessant backbiting to obtain more European funding in exchange for border-guarding against the flow of Syrian refugees to the EU.\r\n\r\nIn the Libyan conflict, Europe\u2019s role is clear and undeniable because of the country\u2019s geostrategic importance, especially the fear of waves of asylum and illegal immigration crossing the Libyan coast.\r\nEurope\u2019s role was pointed out at the Berlin conference in January.\r\n\r\nThe meeting concluded with a formula that came to nothing and outcomes that fell short of serious operational mechanisms that would ensure that the participants\u2019 commitments would be effectively carried out and would reflect the seriousness of the global collective in finding a way to resolve this crisis after enforcing and monitoring the Libya arms embargo.\r\n\r\nThose efforts have been unable to move on to the next phase, namely, internal Libyan talks on disputed issues. So, the Turkish Sultan carried on with his military interventions to the point of taking direct action in support of the Sarraj government against the Libyan national army. That left the crisis going on and the conflict getting worse and worse.\r\n\r\nIn Berlin, the main countries involved in the Libyan conflict, including Turkey, pledged to respect the arms embargo and not to interfere in Libyan affairs. The conference proved to be a \u201csmall step,\u201d as Chancellor Angela Merkel soberly stated.\r\n\r\nThe outcome of the conference did not provide the \u201ckey which can help us resolve the conflict in Libya,\u201d as German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said at the end of the conference on 19 January.\r\n\r\nThis does not negate the fact that German diplomacy was aware of how complex the crisis was. The German minister said that \u201cThis is the start to what we regard as a political solution in Libya\u201d after the conference.\r\n\r\nHowever, Europe\u2019s role has recently gained momentum with the announcement by President Emmanuel Macron that President Erdogan is playing a \u201cdangerous game\u201d in Libya, accusing Turkey of contravening \u201call the commitments\u201d it made at the Berlin conference.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt is in the interest of Libya, its neighbors, the whole region, and also Europe.\u201d \u201cI do not want in six months, a year, two years from now to have to see that Libya is in the same situation as Syria is today,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\nMacron has made clear his intention to build up an effective and serious dynamic, supported by the French Parliament, one of whose Vice-Presidents has stated that Erdogan was going to bring the war in Libya to a point of no return.\r\n\r\nSaying Libya\u2019s tragedy goes beyond its borders, and the situation could get out of hand, the vice-president shared France\u2019s concern that Turkish intervention could spread the conflict if Egypt intervened directly to ensure its national security.\r\n\r\nBut France\u2019s frustration and concern need more international support to put pressure on Turkey to stop its interventions in Libya and make way for a political settlement. What is serious about the Libyan, Syrian, and similar issues is that the various efforts made so far have not succeeded in bridging international and regional positions and differences. The world collective is divided as seen in the UN and its Security Council.\r\n\r\nAs a result, these crises continue and are getting worse. Even the EU has not been able to unify the positions of its members on the Libyan conflict.\r\n\r\nThis, despite some considering that the Berlin conference was not convened to build a consensus among the Libyan parties as much as it was intended to create a Western consensus on the crisis. This realization does not deny that the Berlin Conference was the most serious step in addressing the causes of the conflict, as it brought together the influential players on the crisis.\r\n\r\nThen there is the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam crisis, where the European voice seems weak and at odds with the EU\u2019s strategic weight and interests vis-\u00e0-vis the conflicting parties. Likewise, the US role has come across shyly in the form of a fruitless mediation.\r\n\r\nNo Chinese or Russian role has been felt so far, despite the growing interest of China, Ethiopia\u2019s largest trading partner, in the African continent. China is estimated to have provided over $16 bn in loans to Ethiopia, including $1.2 bn to build transmission lines that will be linked to the project.\r\n\r\nChina is indirectly involved in the project as it is generating electricity to operate a Chinese-funded railway line linking landlocked Ethiopia to neighboring Djibouti\u2019s ports.\r\n\r\nEuropeans sought to resolve the Renaissance dam crisis through a letter from the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the European Council President Charles Michel to Ethiopia\u2019s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The leaders offered their support for the talks between the three countries.\r\n\r\nIn an official statement, the EU stressed that the resolution of the conflict is important for the stability of the whole region.\r\n\r\nThe EU is reaching out to all parties and encouraging them to avoid increasing polarization, the statement noted. European efforts in <a href="https:\/\/see.news\/?s=GERD" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the Renaissance Dam crisis<\/a>, therefore, appear cautious and weak so far, especially after the US mediator failed to persuade the Ethiopian side to sign the agreements reached between the three parties to the conflict, and after the EU itself was unable to help the parties reach a solution in 2014.\r\n\r\nHowever, the negative knock-on effects expected if tensions escalate should prompt the EU to renew its efforts. Otherwise, risks would be high, especially in the event of a military confrontation on the EU\u2019s southern border, which could lead to a surge in illegal migration and terrorism.\r\n\r\nObservers point out that the EU must play an active role in this crisis, given Germany\u2019s close ties with the Egyptian and Ethiopian sides. Germany has the potential to help make a decisive breakthrough and reach a fair and balanced deal. The strategic vacuum is deep because of the reduced or no role of the US.\r\n\r\nIn order to fill this vacuum and above all to secure its vital strategic interests in its periphery, Europe must push its diplomacy forward more effectively.