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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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    12 April 2017

    As the Syrian conflict grows in complexity, so too do the flows of people inside the country and into the neighbouring region. This Alert identifies three major shifts which will affect migration flows.

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    22 March 2017

    This Chaillot Paper analyses how Arab states strive to achieve strategic, economic and symbolic goals through indigenous armaments production, with some countries in the region showing a new determination to become more self-reliant in this domain. The paper focuses in particular on how efforts undertaken by Arab states to develop national defence technological and industrial bases (DTIBs) entail new relationships with defence suppliers.

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    08 March 2017

    To step up the fight against terrorism, the EU is looking to forge closer ties with strategic countries in its Southern Neighbourhood. The Union’s initiatives to set up counter-terrorism dialogues in the region have, however, been met with a hesitant response. How can the EU overcome different interpretations of what effective counter-terrorism should look like?

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    21 October 2016

    This Chaillot Paper examines the flaws and failures that have so far impeded a more functional and balanced relationship between civilian and military authorities in the Middle East and North Africa. The paper also highlights the importance of security sector reform (SSR) in consolidating the rule of law and, more generally, sustainable systems of governance.

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    14 October 2016

    This Brief examines the overlooked role of the women in the organisation, and argues they are every bit as dangerous as their male counterparts. But how should European security forces address this issue?

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    29 July 2016

    Both Russia and ISIL/Daesh have engaged in aggressive messaging and deceptive media campaigns, albeit with distinct narratives, targets and audiences. This Report analyses the ‘what’ and the ‘how’; and also draws attention to strategic communications efforts undertaken by the EU.

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    29 July 2016

    This Brief seeks to explain why (and when) coups happen. What conditions are needed to persuade the military to attempt to topple a government? And what elements increase the likelihood of success or failure?

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    13 July 2016

    As the US solidifies its position in the Pacific through the Trans-Pacific-Partnership (TPP) agreement, China is striving to rebalance to the West. The ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative is now driving the promotion of loans, investments and high-technology in the Middle East. But what are Beijing’s wider strategic goals?

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    01 July 2016

    This Brief shows how, despite the distinct lack of regional integration, the MENA is a continuous space when it comes to conflict. What does the emergence of this ‘conflict Schengen’ mean for wars – and long-suffering civilians – in the region?

  • 25 May 2016

    The 2016 EUISS Washington Forum took place on 25 May and was hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP).

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    13 July 2016

    As the US solidifies its position in the Pacific through the Trans-Pacific-Partnership (TPP) agreement, China is striving to rebalance to the West. The ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative is now driving the promotion of loans, investments and high-technology in the Middle East. But what are Beijing’s wider strategic goals?

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    01 July 2016

    This Brief shows how, despite the distinct lack of regional integration, the MENA is a continuous space when it comes to conflict. What does the emergence of this ‘conflict Schengen’ mean for wars – and long-suffering civilians – in the region?

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    28 April 2016

    In the arid region of the Levant, water is a growing driver of instability and conflict. This Brief examines the role water plays in local and regional instability, its place in international aid in the past and present, and ways in which the matter may be addressed in the future.

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    15 February 2016

    This Alert examines the adverse economic conditions which Egypt is facing: in addition to mounting political pressures in the form of protests and labour strikes, the risk of a currency crisis is running high. What has gone wrong since President Sisi came to power?

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    05 February 2016

    Over the years, Saudi-Iranian relations have seen numerous ups and downs. This Brief tells the story of their rocky relationship in their own words, starting with the crowning of Saudi Arabia’s first king in 1924 and continuing up until today's latest developments.

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    05 February 2016

    The first EUISS Brief of 2016 looks at the newly created Saudi-led Islamic military alliance, and explains how its purpose is threefold: counter-balance Iranian influence in the region, restore Saudi Arabia’s somewhat tarnished Muslim reputation and create military synergies between signatories.

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    29 January 2016

    One common assumption has been that refugees are leaving camps in Jordan and Lebanon due to difficult conditions and moving on through Turkey into the EU. But because of the northward shift of the Syrian conflict, the reality is somewhat different.

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    29 January 2016

    With the suspicion that two newly-registered refugees carried out the November Paris attacks, this Alert explores – and debunks – fears that refugee flows from the Middle East have become a backchannel for terrorists entering Europe.

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    17 December 2015

    This Chaillot Paper charts the changes that have taken place in the countries and regions adjacent to the EU over the past two decades, and analyses how the upheavals of recent years have altered the EU’s relationship with and approach to its eastern and southern neighbours.

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    08 December 2015

    There are around 5,000 EU citizens currently fighting for ISIL. How are they recruited? What is reality like for them under the rule of the so-called caliphate? And, perhaps most importantly, how and why do they return?

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  • 26 March 2012

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

  • 25 March 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.

  • 22 March 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.

  • 08 March 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.

  • 23 November 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.

  • 27 October 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.

  • 28 May 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.

  • 12 May 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.

  • 11 April 2011

    Taking place on 11-12 April 2011 and organised by the Arab Reform Initiative in collaboration with the EUISS and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, this seminar examined the role of external actors in political reforms in the Arab world.

  • 10 March 2011

    Tenu à Tunis les 9 et 10 mars 2011, ce séminaire a abordé des thèmes tels le rôle de la constitution et le processus de reforme, le processus électoral et la décentralisation, la refonte des lois qui régissent la vie publique, la réforme du système de sécurité, le pacte social, l’inclusion des acteurs politiques et la justice transitionnelle.

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