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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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    15November 2011

    The Arab democratic wave has not had an effect on Africa as much as some had hoped. But the situation on the other side of the Sahara is more nuanced. Here, the author explores several scenarios where sub-Saharan African nations may face crucial turning points.

  • 27October 2011

    A keynote speech by H.E. the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic opened the 2011 EU-Washington Forum which welcomed high-ranking officials and well-known experts from both sides of the Atlantic.

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    24August 2011

    As the 42-year dictatorship in Libya nears its end, it is important we get it right in dealing with the post-Gaddafi era as the process moves, in all likelihood, from military confrontation to democratic transition. A democratic Libya is an important new driving force in the Arab democratic wave. It builds on the growing momentum created by the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, making it increasingly more difficult for authoritarian leaders in North Africa and the Middle East to sustain their policies. With hope, Bashar Assad realises this.

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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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    09November 2009

    The fall of the Berlin Wall led to one of the most dramatic transformation processes in Europe and in the international system. With historical hindsight, it is clear that it was a landmark moment for the European integration process which resulted in the end of ‘divided Europe’, and created an environment conducive to the unification of Europe. As in other parts of Europe, this historical moment was warmly welcomed in Turkey by democratic forces which believed in an inclusionary European integration process that would consolidate democracy throughout the Continent.

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    04November 2009

    'The Obama Moment' provides an authoritative analysis of the most topical global questions of our time: multilateralism, the economy, disarmament and climate change. Will the election of Obama facilitate enhanced transatlantic co-operation in dealing with these and other challenges?

  • 19October 2009

    This book breaks new ground by providing the first comprehensive review of every ESDP operation to date. It explains how the EU institutions responsible for international crisis management have developed and functioned, reviews the civil and military resources available to the ESDP, and analyses the key partnerships between the EU and other international organisations.

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    15October 2009

    In this second 'Ten Papers for Barcelona 2010' paper, the authors look at developments based on interdependency and economic integration carried out by the EU in the Mediterranean and how energy efficiency and the development of renewable energies could offer great opportunities for the region.

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    15September 2009

    Muriel Asseburg and Paul Salem look at the prospects for Euro-Mediterranean initiatives against the current troubled backdrop of the Middle East, and in particular the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The long-term objective of creating a Euro-Mediterranean Community will not be fulfilled without a lasting peace in the region.

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    10September 2009

    It came as no surprise to hear Turkish and Armenian policymakers announce that they are launching final talks to establish diplomatic relations. This is the third move towards normalisation – after football diplomacy and the April 2009 road map – which has resulted from Swiss-mediated talks behind the scenes. The new framework proposes the signature of two protocols on the establishment of diplomatic ties and the development of bilateral relations.

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    26June 2009

    Obama chose to travel the road less travelled by recent US policies towards the Muslim world when he decided to deliver a speech in Cairo on 4 June. He set himself an enormous challenge: to transform Muslim public opinion so as to alter the impression that a US President is someone to throw shoes at rather than a potential partner for dialogue.

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    10June 2009

    What’s the best way of getting emotions to run high in a dull European election? The answer: use Turkey. In recent weeks, no other topic has dominated debates on Europe within member countries more than Ankara’s (im)possible entry into the EU.

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    02April 2009

    Le Maghreb est confronté à des défis colossaux : pauvreté, terrorisme, migration, corruption, violation des droits de l’homme. Les réformes nécessaires pour résoudre ces problèmes exigent un engagement des États avec le soutien de leur société civile : elles échoueront si elles ne sont pas portées par des dirigeants politiques légitimes, démocratiquement élus. Comme l’analyse Luís Martinez, la démocratisation au Maghreb doit devenir une priorité de la politique européenne en Méditerranée.

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    11March 2009

    It is difficult to believe that the timing of the attacks on Gaza at the end of last December was simply a consequence of intolerable provocation After all, only a few days after the violence ended, a new president was inaugurated in the United States and, three weeks after that, Israel itself held legislative elections in which two of the three political figures – Kadima’s Tzipi Livni and Labour’s Ehud Barak – who had guided the hostilities were leading contenders.

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