An agency of the EU

Overview

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is one of the immediate neighbourhoods of the EU. Linked to Europe both historically and geographically, it is one of the world’s most complex and conflict-ridden regions. Inter-state and civil wars, terrorism, political instability and poverty have caused turmoil in the neighbourhood itself as well as in adjacent areas. In addition to hosting Europe’s most important trade routes, its geographical proximity and abundant energy resources give the region a high degree of strategic visibility.

The existing MENA fault lines are further compounded by the fact that - despite a multitude of cultural, linguistic and historical commonalities - very little economic, political or military cooperation exist amongst the states in the region, making the settlement of existing conflicts even more difficult. 

The geopolitical significance of the MENA explains the EU’s desire to contribute to regional stability through different means such as the European Neighbourhood Policy, the Barcelona Process and the Union for the Mediterranean. The EUISS seeks to contribute to the EU’s overall effort in the MENA by providing in-depth analyses on a number of key issues affecting the region.

Publications

  • China in the Middle East: not just about oil

    As the US solidifies its position in the Pacific through the Trans-Pacific-Partnership (TPP) agreement, China is striving to rebalance to the West. The ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative is now driving the promotion of loans, investments and high-technology in the Middle East. But what are Beijing’s wider strategic goals?

  • The Arab common market: Fighters, weapons, ideologies

    This Brief shows how, despite the distinct lack of regional integration, the MENA is a continuous space when it comes to conflict. What does the emergence of this ‘conflict Schengen’ mean for wars – and long-suffering civilians – in the region?

  • Water and insecurity in the Levant

    In the arid region of the Levant, water is a growing driver of instability and conflict. This Brief examines the role water plays in local and regional instability, its place in international aid in the past and present, and ways in which the matter may be addressed in the future.

  • Egypt: a giant with (financial) feet of clay

    This Alert examines the adverse economic conditions which Egypt is facing: in addition to mounting political pressures in the form of protests and labour strikes, the risk of a currency crisis is running high. What has gone wrong since President Sisi came to power?