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.