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

  • Defence industries in Arab states: players and strategies

    This Chaillot Paper analyses how Arab states strive to achieve strategic, economic and symbolic goals through indigenous armaments production, with some countries in the region showing a new determination to become more self-reliant in this domain. The paper focuses in particular on how efforts undertaken by Arab states to develop national defence technological and industrial bases (DTIBs) entail new relationships with defence suppliers.

  • Preventing terrorism in the south

    To step up the fight against terrorism, the EU is looking to forge closer ties with strategic countries in its Southern Neighbourhood. The Union’s initiatives to set up counter-terrorism dialogues in the region have, however, been met with a hesitant response. How can the EU overcome different interpretations of what effective counter-terrorism should look like?

  • Civil-military relations in the MENA: between fragility and resilience

    This Chaillot Paper examines the flaws and failures that have so far impeded a more functional and balanced relationship between civilian and military authorities in the Middle East and North Africa. The paper also highlights the importance of security sector reform (SSR) in consolidating the rule of law and, more generally, sustainable systems of governance.

  • Women in Daesh: jihadist ‘cheerleaders’, active operatives?

    This Brief examines the overlooked role of the women in the organisation, and argues they are every bit as dangerous as their male counterparts. But how should European security forces address this issue?