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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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    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.

  • 09February 2010

    Examining and analysing Iranian domestic developments and the way ahead for EU-Iran relations, this working group meeting took place at the EUISS in Paris on 9 February 2010.

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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.

  • 11December 2009

    The EUISS co-hosted the second Seminar on Turkey and the ESDP at Bosphorus University in Istanbul on 11 December 2009. The debate centred on the assumption that an open CSDP is not only a viable idea, but could also constitute a suitable framework for enhanced security cooperation with third countries in a multipolar world.

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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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  • 01October 2006

    This summer, war swept across the parched lands of the Middle East. Once more, and with a terrible feeling of déjà vu, we were contemplating a fully-fledged, conventional war in Israel and Lebanon. And then, almost unexpectedly, war gave way to a ceasefire and to a fragile peace. This rapid shift – a sign of our hasty times – was the product of several causes.

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    01October 2006

    Qui aurait cru, un an après le marasme politique issu des « non » au référendum sur la Constitution, que l’Union allait devenir, en quelques mois, l’un des acteurs indispensables pour la stabilisation des crises, notamment au Moyen-Orient ?

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    01September 2006

    Today, Turkey is caught between two sets of challenges. The first set includes the typical conventional challenges that relate to national security, territorial integrity and political stability. The second set of challenges has to do with maintaining the pace of political reform.

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    01August 2006

    The approaching mid-term elections (due to take place on 7 November) to both Houses of the Congress and a number of state governorships may deliver a considerable change in the US and have an impact on its foreign policy.

  • 01July 2006

    From the mid-1990s onwards, the EU followed a unique policy approach in order to engage the Islamic Republic of Iran. Recognising the country's geostrategic position and its importance as an energy supplier, EU countries embraced a policy of dialogue.

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    01July 2006

    This edition of the EUISS newsletter 'ISSues' includes articles about the Iranian constitution, the EU's soft power in the Balkans, and EU dialogue with Iran.

  • 01June 2006

    Der Wahlsieg der fundamentalistischen Hamas in Palästina kommt nicht überraschend. Befremden muss eher das ungläubige Erstaunen, mit dem der Wahlausgang im Westen aufgenommen wurde. Schließlich war die jahrzehntelange Misswirtschaft der Fatah selbst Außenstehenden bekannt. Genauso wenig war es ein Geheimnis, dass Hamas aufgrund ihres sozialen Engagements großes Ansehen in der zunehmend verarmenden palästinensischen Bevölkerung genoss.

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    15May 2006

    It is the general perception in Washington that EU-US relations are on the road to recovery after Iraq, though overall interest in the EU remains moderate in the United States. The EU needs to capitalise more systematically on the fact that its opinions on Iran are listened to in Washington. In this way, the EU can contribute to and influence the American debate.

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    01May 2006

    It is no exaggeration to say that the Islamic Republic of Iran has posed a challenge to the West since the very day of its inception. However, since 2002, concerns about Iran's nuclear issue have further worsened relations, to such an extent that the US identified Iran as a main security challenge in its National Security Strategy of March 2006.

  • 18April 2006

    Three years after the US-led intervention, Iraq has become neither more secure nor more democratic. Formal democratic procedures do not necessarily amount to democracy. National sovereignty, a non-negotiable prerequisite for democracy, exists on paper only and the country's nascent democracy needs a secure environment in order to be able to take root.

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