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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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  • 02July 2010

    This EUISS taskforce took place in Paris and focused on the EU's strategy towards the Middle East Peace Process and what policy options are available to it in the ongoing situation.

  • 20June 2010

    Over the last five decades, the quality of the Mediterranean environment has been increasingly degraded by various human activities. These pressures generate major environmental problems expected to be exacerbated by climate change. Consequently, many initiatives have been undertaken at different levels by various bodies and organisations to contribute to the amelioration of the environmental situation, several of which have had promising results.

  • 18June 2010

    Organised with the support of the Instituto Español de Estudos Estratégicos (Spanish Ministry of Defence), Middle East Technical University (METU, Ankara) and the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this seminar explored Turkey's role in CSDP operations and ways ahead for future cooperation.

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    17June 2010
    By

    Looking at the events surrounding the ‘Free Gaza’ flotilla and the violence that took place on its flagship, the Marmara, it is fair to say that Israel made every mistake that it was possible to make. At every turn Israeli decision-makers allowed themselves to fall into a politically-orchestrated ambush. However, for an Israeli, other emotions come into play: Israel was lynched by international public opinion – Arab as well as European – using allegations of a so-called ‘massacre’ perpetrated on the high seas. Whatever happened there, it certainly was not a massacre.

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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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  • 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.

  • 15March 2006

    Die Beziehungen der EU zur Islamischen Republik Iran gestalteten sich seit jeher schwierig. Erst als das Regime in den 1990er Jahren seinen internationalen Pariah-Status überwinden wollte und sich in seiner Rhetorik sowie in seine Außenpolitik mäßigte, war an ein Ausloten gemeinsamer Interessen überhaupt zu denken. Alsbald wurde auf Ebene von Vizeministern ein Gesprächsformat eingerichtet das als kritischer Dialog bekannt geworden ist.

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    01January 2006

    The broader Middle Eastern region has become the central focus of U.S.-European diplomatic relations. Talks between senior European policymakers and U.S. officials are now often dominated by issues that arise from the threats to peace and stability that emanate from this troubled region. The Middle East looms equally large in public opinion on both sides of the Atlantic.

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    01December 2005
    By

    Historically speaking, security and defence are late arrivals on the European agenda. But like all young things, the European security and defence policy is growing fast. We have put in place the necessary decision-making structures and launched a process to enhance European capabilities, which has been given fresh impetus with the creation of the European Defence Agency.

  • 16October 2005

    Groucho Marx famously stated that he would never join a club that would accept him as a member. Today, the Turkish leadership might be well advised to take the same approach to the European Union (EU). Membership for the sake of it should not be the objective. Accession will only succeed when the Union is confident enough to welcome Turkey among its members.

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    01October 2005

    Alors que la crise européenne s’installe dans la durée, c’est au tour des Etats-Unis de connaître une crise similaire, de gouvernance et de confiance, qui fait de Katrina, selon la très juste formule de Karl Kaiser, un phénomène géopolitique de première ampleur.

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    06September 2005

    Since the re-election of President Bush, American foreign policy has undergone a subtle but noticeable and significant transformation. The hawkish attitude demonstrated by Bush during his first term and his cavalier approach towards alliance-building have been replaced by a toning down of the previously aggressive rhetoric and an attempt to reach out to allies and, in particular, to the EU.

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    01July 2005

    The rise of Shia influence in Iraqi politics has caused suspicion among (predominantly Sunni) Arab leaders and Western analysts alike. Questions arose how strongly Iran will be able to influence Iraqi affairs.

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    01July 2005

    Iran, the land of roses and nightingales, remains unpredictable and enigmatic for any Western analyst-it always takes a different turn than what one would expect. When the regime of the Shah appeared to be stable, it was swiped away by a popular left-leaning revolution which replaced the monarchy with an Islamic Republic.

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    01July 2005

    Two years after George W. Bush declared the end of major combat operations in Iraq, the country is still far from stable. A fierce insurgency is still hampering the reconstruction of the country’s infrastructure and the development of the political process. On the other hand, success, however limited, cannot be denied: on 30 January 2005 Iraqis cast their ballots to elect a Transitional Assembly in most provinces of the country and a new government was inaugurated by the end of March 2005.

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