"The Arab revolution is not against us, but against the Arab dinosaurs, the corruption, the authoritarianism and inequality of Arab societies," D'Alema said, urging the EU not to shy away from taking a strong stance and preventing a dramatic mutation of the Arab upheaval.
According to the statesman, who is also president of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), the EU needs to unambiguously support the democratisation process in Arab countries and establish a European policy towards its Mediterranean neighbours, "a true partnership for development and democracy".
But he also insisted that Brussels must genuinely intervene in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"We can no longer accept the blind policy of the Israeli government, which is against the interests of Israel but also against the interests of Europe," the Italian politician said.
D'Alema, who was in the running to become the EU's first foreign affairs supremo before the post went to Baroness Ashton, criticised the bloc's lack of ambition to pursue a thorough immigration and integration policy.
"By creating barriers to legal immigration, we open the doors to illegal migrants," he said, arguing in favour of stronger policies to attract more skilled immigrants.
Pointing to a lack of coherence in the migration debate, D'Alema noted that the issue would prove a real test for the European Union, which he believes needs to strengthen its social dimension.
"We have a totally hypocritical political debate on this: everybody recognises that we need migrants to sustain our welfare and pension system, and on the other side some in government are pushing public opinion to believe otherwise, triggering racism," he said, hinting at the view being pushed by the Lega Nord, which is in Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's coalition government.
Referring to the Italian-French border row over the arrival of some 25,000 illegal immigrants from Tunisia, D'Alema criticised the Italian government for its populist reaction, which has exacerbated nationalistic political and electoral discourse in the country.
According to the Italian statesman, governments across Europe are still reeling from the financial and economic crises and have turned inwards in response.
"The difficulty of any European government vis-à-vis the crisis is also in my opinion the lack of a European policy," he added.
"Europe is only limits, rules, currency stability, budget, and that is not enough. There is not a strategy for development, growth, a European investment strategy: that is the weakness of right-wing governments," he claimed.
The FEPS president feels that in upcoming national elections, social democrats should showcase the EU, which he believes should be increasingly at the centre of the New European Left's political strategies.
While right-wing governments tend to revert to the nation state, the Left has remained faithful to its Europeanism and should do more to promote it in electoral programmes across the continent, D'Alema said, claiming that the Left had entered a new political era.