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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 gas),
  • and it has been historically 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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  • 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
    Edited by

    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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    26January 2012

    Admirers of the European Union frequently point out that it has a comprehensive selection of non-military crisis management tools. These include the bloc’s economic leverage, mechanisms for deploying civilian peace operations and close working relationships with the United Nations and other multilateral organisations.

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    10January 2012

    Le vendredi 6 janvier, considéré par les coordinations locales de la révolution syrienne comme le jour de « l’internationalisation de la protection », résultant du sentiment croissant d’incapacité d’agir de la délégation des observateurs, la ville de Damas a connu un « attentat » meurtrier faisant plus de 25 victimes. 

  • 23November 2011

    The EUISS 2011 Annual Conference aims to provide a high-profile forum for a debate among major global players (the members of the G20) and the international institutions on the most appropriate answers to the transformations that are currently taking place in the Arab world.

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    18November 2011

    This publication examines the current context and future prospects in Egypt ahead of the first round of parliamentary elections in November, with special attention to the role and position of the Muslim Brotherhood. The contributors examine the various options, opportunities and challenges facing both domestic and external actors with regard to the country’s future and the Muslim Brotherhood’s political trajectory.

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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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    19November 2009

    Sans doute la chute du mur de Berlin en 1989 ne semble avoir eu que peu d’effets directs sur le pays. Les gauches locales, comme toutes les gauches du monde, en ont le plus souffert en perdant de leur superbe. Le mur dans sa chute signifiait alors une certaine mort de la gauche. Mais au moins sa destruction introduisait, dans le contexte marocain, l’idée que les choses les plus solides, les plus durables, celles que l’on croit le moins susceptibles de s’écrouler, peuvent s’effondrer.

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