You are here


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.


  • Download document
    01 July 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.

  • 01 June 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.

  • Download document
    15 May 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.

  • Download document
    01 May 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.

  • 18 April 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.

  • 03 April 2006

    This seminar sought to analyse the new political environment following elections in Israel and the Palestinian territories, and reflect on possible courses of action for the European Union as an external actor that has declared support for a peaceful resolution of the dispute.

  • 17 March 2006

    Following other seminars on Iraq ('Iraq after the Elections'; 'Federal Aspects of the Iraqi Constitution' and 'The Kurdish Issue and the EU'), the EUISS once again brought together international renowned experts to discuss the present state of affairs in Iraq.

  • 15 March 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.

  • Download document
    01 January 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.

  • Download document
    01 December 2005

    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.



  • Download document
    01 September 1996

    In December 1994, the WEU Permanent Council gave the Institute for Security Studies the task of analysing the security and defence policies of the Maghreb countries and Egypt, in liaison with security institutes in those countries. This was to become an addition to the Institute's continuing work on Mediterranean security.

  • Download document
    01 September 1992

    Earlier this year the Institute asked Professor Rémy Leveau to prepare a study on Algeria: adversaries in search of uncertain compromises.' This was discussed at a meeting of specialists on North African politics held in the Institute. In view of the continuing importance of developments in Algeria the Institute asked Professor Leveau to prepare this revised version of his paper for wider circulation.