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MENA

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is a fragmented region: in spite of its relative cultural and historical homogeneity, it has some of the lowest levels of intra-regional trade, political cooperation and legal migration in the world. This is largely due to the fact that, since the end of the Second World War, it has experienced the full spectrum of political violence. Conventional, hybrid, and civil wars, revolutions, and terrorism have hindered political and economic development, and created fertile ground for further violence. Breaking this ‘conflict trap’ is imperative for the states of the region, as well as those actors who have a stake in it.

For the EU, the MENA is of strategic importance for three reasons: it is an immediate geographic neighbour, a crucial passage for goods traveling to and from Europe (including oil), and it is notoriously unstable. The region’s security and economic situation is consequently closely intertwined with that of Europe. This explains the Union’s desire to contribute to regional stability through different means such as the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), 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.

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    02April 2012

    The EU has responded to the Arab democratic wave by reinvigorating and re-launching the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in the Mediterranean. But which multilateral approach should the EU develop under the new circumstances, if at all?

  • 30March 2012

    The latest EUISS book ‘Listening to Unfamiliar Voices – The Arab Democratic Wave’ was launched in Brussels on 30 March 2012. The book, written by the EUISS Director Álvaro de Vasconcelos, was presented to Ambassadors, high profile journalists and EU officials in attendance. 

  • 26March 2012

    The latest EUISS book ‘Listening to Unfamiliar Voices – The Arab Democratic Wave’ was launched in Cairo on 26 March 2012. 

  • 25March 2012

    This seminar examined the political transition currently underway in Egypt, drawing on the democratic experiences of other nations such as Brazil, Indonesia and Portugal to analyse the constitution making processes, civil-military relations and the role of political Islam in the Arab world.

  • 22March 2012

    This seminar was jointly organised in Tunis by the EUISS and l'Association de Recherches sur la Démocratie et le Développement (AR2D) to explore the creation of a new Tunisian constitution following the ousting of President Ben Ali.

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    12March 2012

    Written by the Director of the EUISS, Álvaro de Vasconcelos, this new book assesses how the Arab democratic wave is part of a wider shift towards a post-Western world in which the global agenda is no longer defined by the West alone and other ‘unfamiliar’ voices may be heard.

  • 08March 2012

    A roundtable discussion was organised on 8 March 2012 on the topic of Israel's internal tensions in a changing region where brief presentations were given drawing on recent research carried out by speakers on, respectively: Israel’s Palestinian minority; Israeli territorial identity; and Israel, the EU and international law. The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss a variety of questions with external experts, EUISS staff and a Paris-based audience.

  • 07March 2012

     Seldom has it been as justified to be pessimistic about developments between the United States, Israel, and Iran. This dysfunctional state of affairs is getting so out of hand that the danger of war is no longer just a remote possibility but instead looms large on the horizon. David Ignatius reported on Feb. 2 in Washington Post that "[Secretary of Defense Leon] Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May, or June," though he does not believe that the final decision has been taken yet. 

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    21February 2012

    Israel is a more complicated country than meets the eye, with a disturbing increase in intra-Israeli religious tensions which Europeans sometimes fail to take into accoun

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    09February 2012
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    Iran is in the throes of a transition where its fundamental tenets are being called into question. This paper provides an in-depth assessment of Iranian state and society since the 1979 revolution, focusing particularly on the social and political turmoil of the past five years.

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    01March 2011

    With uprisings in the Arab world continuing to spread, the EU needs a radical rethink of its policy in the region. The failed Union for the Mediterranean represents an opportunity to define a new objective: building a Euro-Mediterranean community.

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    22February 2011

    The Jasmine revolution in Tunisia and the popular uprising in Egypt have opened the way for these Arab countries to initiate their transitions to democracy. The burning question, however, is what sort of democracy will they be? The fear of power falling into the hands of political Islamists has been a recurrent theme of global commentary on these momentous events. Yet some experts have argued that there is the potential for a different, more positive outcome – pointing in particular to Turkey’s experience.

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    16February 2011

    It is easy to see why EU foreign policy comes down to its lowest common denominator when disagreements arise, or why in fact it takes longer to react than any of its constituents. Negotiations and bargaining are the necessary prelude to any agreement, and can sometimes be long and cumbersome.

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    15February 2011

    A major change is sweeping through the Arab world, moving from country to country. While national differences remain vast, the same slogans and demands are being heard everywhere: more freedom, more democracy and more individual rights for the citizens. Without knowing where it will end and what the Arab world will look like in the future, it is already time to ask what it means for Europe, and to Europe’s relations with the region.

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    15February 2011

    At present, there is an explosive lack of consensus within the EU about dealing with irregular migration from North Africa and the Middle East. With southern member states like Italy already experiencing increased irregular immigration, there has been a predictable sharpening of tone in many capitals. The imperative of restrictive immigration control has risen swiftly up the European agenda. At the same time, however, there has been a surprising openness toward liberalising EU migration policy.

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    10February 2011

    Les événements qui viennent de se produire en Tunisie, puis en Égypte, avec leurs spécificités, font apparaître, de manière indubitable, un phénomène lourd de conséquences : la sous-estimation de l’autonomie du peuple.

    Durant des décennies, on a peu à peu fait disparaître une réflexion sérieuse sur la réalité de ce qu’étaient les peuples du monde arabe en leur substituant une vision caricaturale et réductrice.

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    09February 2011

    La « Révolution du jasmin » en Tunisie, les événements en cours en Égypte et les manifestations prévues ici et là dans plusieurs pays arabes semblent indiquer qu’une nouvelle réalité est en train de se dessiner, dans ce qui semblait à tort comme l’exception démocratique dans le monde.

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    07February 2011

    Qui avait prévu un tel chambardement? Qui osait espérer, il y a à peine trois mois, que le peuple tunisien était capable de déboulonner le régime honni, dont on vantait, en Europe et ailleurs, la stabilité et la solidité ? Même ceux, qui ne sont pourtant pas néophytes en matière de politique arabe, ont été pris au dépourvu, ébahis par la tournure des événements, étonnés par la rapidité de la victoire du peuple tunisien, et sidérés par la maturité dont il a fait preuve.

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    07February 2011

    Much has been said about the EU’s response to the uprisings in North Africa. Much has been and will continue to be said on how the EU should radically change its approach to this region. But beyond the criticism, little has been said about how the new foreign policy structures set up by the Lisbon Treaty have met this challenging task.

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    24January 2011

    The crisis in Tunisia is at the end of its heroic phase: the corrupt presidency has been overthrown by a revolutionary popular uprising and the nihilistic violence of its paramilitary base in the presidential guard and the police has been countered by the intervention of the Tunisian army.  

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