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

  • 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?

  • 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.