How do states transit to democracy, and why does it seem such a difficult endeavour in the Arab world? This brief explains the conditions required for democratic transitions to succeed, and highlights the many pitfalls that cause states to revert to authoritarianism.
The EUISS conducts its research both topically and regionally, focusing on key issues of strategic importance to EU foreign policy. Alongside the immediate priorities in the EU's neighbourhood, the EU also focuses on emerging regions such as the Far East, as well as on traditional allies such as the United States.
The EU’s relations with the ‘Middle East Region’ actually cover three different but overlapping areas, each of which has its own peculiarities and distinctive relationship with Europe. They are the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Gulf Region.
Russia and eastern neighbours
Russia is the biggest neighbour of the European Union – and one of its most difficult partners. The EU’s Eastern neighbourhood is a region in transition. Diverging foreign policy orientations, frozen conflicts, and low levels of inter-state cooperation further fragment and polarise the region.
The diversity of the African continent and its states, the distinct privileged historical links that exist between some Member States and their former colonies, and the corresponding cultural and linguistic affinities, all represent an extraordinary potential for cooperation, and this extends to the as yet barely developed area of peace and security.
Reflecting the evolving priorities of EU foreign policy, the EUISS has begun developing research on Asia. The aspects the Institute focuses on are: the global implications of the rise of China and India, China’s role in Africa and the Middle East, security and international relations in East Asia, and non-proliferation.
EU policy in the Western Balkans is based on stabilisation through integration. Following the 1999 crisis in Kosovo and NATO intervention, the EU member states recognised that a comprehensive policy for the whole region was needed, and in 2000 the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) was launched.
The strength of EU-US relations rests on historical bonds, converging interests and commonality of values. Cooperating with the US represents an important aspect of almost all areas of EU foreign policy. Elsewhere across the Atlantic, rising powers such as Brazil and Mexico are also of increasing importance.
This Alert examines how both the US and the EU have subscribed to a two-pronged strategy encompassing a renewed focus on security and economic cooperation, narrowly confined to counter-terrorism and trade. However, it warns that this security-economy ‘nexus’ should not be allowed to undermine ongoing efforts regarding governance and state-building on the African continent.
This Alert seeks to highlight how the current political crisis has the potential to poison the legacy of the international community in the country, as well as undermine future international commitments.
Written by the Director of the EUISS, Álvaro de Vasconcelos, this new book assesses how the Arab democratic wave is part of a wider shift towards a post-Western world in which the global agenda is no longer defined by the West alone and other ‘unfamiliar’ voices may be heard.
Coinciding with the Russian presidential elections, the EUISS has published a report in which a group of Russian authors explore the challenge faced by Russia’s political elite from a rapidly evolving society. The report examines the recent protests and the need for political reform and assesses how the gap between state and society has undermined the legitimacy of the ruling class.
Iran is in the throes of a transition where its fundamental tenets are being called into question. This paper provides an in-depth assessment of Iranian state and society since the 1979 revolution, focusing particularly on the social and political turmoil of the past five years.