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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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    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).

  • 24 May 2016

    Two EUISS Senior Analysts were hosted by the Atlantic Council in the US capital to discuss developments in defence industries in the Middle East.

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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.

  • 20 April 2016

    Florence Gaub was invited to testify at the Subcommittee on Security and Defence.

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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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  • 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.

  • 01 March 2011

    With the fast-moving developments in the Arab world creating wholesale changes in the international arena, the EUISS released this multi-author report as a response to the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt and the ‘democratic wave’ that has struck the Arab world. Clearly, these democratic uprisings call for a radical shift in the way in which Euro-Mediterranean relations are formulated and conducted.

  • 10 November 2010

    The third annual EU-Washington Forum, held on 8-9 November 2010 in Washington DC, addressed the challenge of strengthening the EU-US relationship post Lisbon and explored options for reinvigorating the common agenda.

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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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    17 November 2015

    Following the horrific attacks in Paris, this Alert shows how ISIL is, in fact, a cult: an authoritarian organisation which brainwashes its members to the point where mass murder and self-annihilation become not only logical, but desirable.

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    28 October 2015

    The last in a mini-series of EUISS publications on hybrid warfare, the Alert assesses the tactics employed by terrorist groups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) such as ISIL. How do they differ from those of state actors in other parts of the world?

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    22 October 2015

    This Alert takes a look at the successes and failures of Turkish refugee policy. What domestic factors are driving the debate in Ankara? And what do Turkish policymakers want and expect from the EU?

  • 12 October 2015

    This Brief explores the failure of the Arab League to make good on its desire to create a Joint Arab Force (JAF). What went wrong with the proposal? And is the project now doomed?

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    24 September 2015

    This Report, the outcome of an EUISS Task Force on sanctions, offers valuable insight into a practice that is now part and parcel of the Union's ‘security’ policy toolbox. It aims to shed more light on an EU policy area that is still under-researched at a time when sanctions are becoming more important in terms of their number, scale and political salience.

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