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

  • Military coups: a very short introduction

    This Brief seeks to explain why (and when) coups happen. What conditions are needed to persuade the military to attempt to topple a government? And what elements increase the likelihood of success or failure?

  • Strategic communications – East and South

    Both Russia and ISIL/Daesh have engaged in aggressive messaging and deceptive media campaigns, albeit with distinct narratives, targets and audiences. This Report analyses the ‘what’ and the ‘how’: the respective narratives of each actor, their specificities, their few similarities and their numerous differences. The analysis also draws attention to strategic communications efforts undertaken by the EU.

  • 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?