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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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    16August 2011

    The West cannot be neutral over Syria. Hesitating and a lack of clarity is making the process of change take longer and become much more costly.

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    09June 2011

    The very public disagreement between Iran’s Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, over the sacking of Intelligence Minister, Heydar Moslehi, has catapulted the conservatives who currently control all the major institutions of the Islamic Republic into an acrimonious tailspin.

  • 28May 2011

    This seminar, organised in cooperation with the Arab Forum for Alternatives, took place in Cairo on 28-29 May 2011. It focused on how other countries that have undergone democratic transitions can share their experiences with the Egypt transition process.

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    27May 2011

    Quand les prémices de la première révolution arabe sont apparues en Tunisie, il y avait déjà un certain moment que l’Egypte allait mal. Non pas à cause des conséquences de la crise financière qui a touché le monde en 2008, mais plutôt parce que le mécontentement général régnait bien avant cette crise.

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    26May 2011

    La révolution tunisienne, aggravée par la crise libyenne, a de graves conséquences pour l’économie tunisienne. On prévoit qu’à la fin de 2011, les chômeurs seront plus de 700 000, taux jamais atteint en Tunisie depuis son indépendance. Les tensions sociales vont probablement s’accroître, alors que les besoins à moyen et à long termes sont gigantesques au vu des ambitions de la révolution et de la nouvelle Tunisie en construction. Des mesures urgentes et à effet immédiat peuvent et doivent être proposées et mises en place.

  • 12May 2011

    Held on 12 May in Brussels, in cooperation with the Bureau of European Policy Advisers (BEPA), this workshop focused on the economic and societal trends facing democracy in the Southern Mediterranean.

  • Palestinian reconciliation: a step towards peace and democracy
    05May 2011

    Hamas and Fatah's reconciliation is a crucial step towards peace and democracy. Without it, no agreement on the creation of a Palestinian state has any chance of success. The author explores why.

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    04May 2011

    To date, the Bahraini uprising has resulted in nothing but a return to martial law and the possible end of the participative experiment. This failure was predictable. At least three reasons can be put forward. First, the protestors were divided about the aim of the movement, so al-Wifaq’s attempts to engage in dialogue with the regime were sabotaged by the hard-liners of al-Haqq and al-Wafa. The main loser of the uprising is al-Wifaq, whose efforts to transform into a party that collaborates with the government have been nullified.

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    28April 2011

    The West needs to return to the drawing board over its dysfunctional relationship with Iran. The author argues that there is no convincing evidence of a link between the negative impact of sanctions on the Iranian economy and an inducement of popular discontent and a change in nuclear policy.

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    18April 2011

    The future in Libya is extremely hard to predict and that, too, has been the ultimate triumph of the Gaddafi regime. It ensured that there should be no potential alternative and the legacy it bequeathes to the country it saw as the ultimate political laboratory will be chaos and uncertainty.

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    17June 2010
    By

    Looking at the events surrounding the ‘Free Gaza’ flotilla and the violence that took place on its flagship, the Marmara, it is fair to say that Israel made every mistake that it was possible to make. At every turn Israeli decision-makers allowed themselves to fall into a politically-orchestrated ambush. However, for an Israeli, other emotions come into play: Israel was lynched by international public opinion – Arab as well as European – using allegations of a so-called ‘massacre’ perpetrated on the high seas. Whatever happened there, it certainly was not a massacre.

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    15June 2010

    There is no doubt that the drama surrounding the raid by Israeli elite troops on 31 May  on an aid flotilla carrying supplies to the Gaza strip – an incident in which eight Turkish passengers and another of Turkish descent were killed – has shaken relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv to their core. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is threatening serious consequences if Israel fails to apologise and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu even compared the ‘psychological’ effect of the event on Turkey with that of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the US.

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    10May 2010

    Le numéro sept des 10 Papers for Barcelona 2010 série nous interpelle sur l’une des questions les plus sensibles des relations euro-méditerranéennes : la circulation des personnes. Bichara Khader examine les contradictions entre « les discours généreux » et « les réalités observables au sol » en termes de politique migratoire de l’UE, alors que Catherine de Wenden met en lumière certains aspects de cette problématique auxquels sont confrontés différents Etats membres.

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    30March 2010

    In a show of defiance amid insurgent attacks on polling stations, Iraqis affirmed their commitment to democratic values by voting in large numbers in the general elections on 7 March. The EU played a significant role in the elections, with financial, political and technical assistance before and during the electoral process demonstrating its effectiveness as a political actor.

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    25March 2010

    The national elections in Iraq this month are important for two reasons according to Glen Rangwala. Firstly, they matter for what they show about the political situation in Iraq seven years after the Coalition invasion and subsequent overthrow of the Ba’ath government. Secondly, these elections have, to a greater degree than those held in 2005, the potential to set Iraq on a course towards more stable and transparent governance.

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    20March 2010

    Considering the complexity of contemporary Euro-Mediterranean relations, in this paper the author analyses the variety of unilateral, bilateral and multilateral frameworks and instruments used to structure and implement Euro-Mediterranean strategies and policies.

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    10March 2010

    The Middle East Quartet has laid out three conditions for the recognition of a Palestinian government: the renunciation of violence, recognition of Israel’s right to exist and a commitment to all agreements signed by the PLO and Israel.

    Recently, the EU appears to have shifted its language, demonstrating increasing flexibility in its application of the principles and emphasising the need for intra-Palestinian reconciliation. But is this a step in the right direction? 

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    22February 2010

    Education is a highly political issue on which the whole value system of any society pivots, and in relation to the Mediterranean, it is where the resolution of the current socioeconomic imbalance lies. In two essays, Robert Fouchet, Emmanuelle Moustier and Azza Karam analyse the social structures of education in the countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean.

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    18February 2010

    From EU’s perspective, the geostrategic importance of the Mediterranean region has increased significantly in the post-Cold War period. To meet new security challenges, the EU initiated the Barcelona Process. However, the authors argue that going forward, EU policies in the Mediterranean need to go beyond conventional understandings of security by focusing on ‘human security’ in helping to resolve ongoing regional political conflicts.

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    05February 2010

    President Saleh faces two internal security threats that pose a more serious challenge to his continued rule than al-Qaeda: the ongoing Houthi rebellion in the north of the country that began in 2004, and the growing movement to restore the independence of South Yemen.

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