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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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  • 01 April 2007

    When the US and Iran sat face to face in Baghdad last March, this did not signify the start of bilateral negotiations. In a sense, it was a direct continuation of several meetings held by states neighbouring Iraq that commenced immediately after the US intervention in Iraq four years ago. These meetings have always functioned as a consultation mechanism and have also been good for confidence-building.

  • 30 March 2007

    Der Iran wird als aufstrebende Regionalmacht beschrieben. Doch an seiner strategischen Isolation hat sich nichts geändert. Im Gegenteil, sie wurde über das letzte Jahr noch verschärft.

  • 26 March 2007

    On 26 March 2007, the Institute held a seminar to analyse the current situation in Lebanon and the potential contribution of the EU and of its member states to the stability of that country in the larger context of the Middle East.

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    19 January 2007

    America is failing in Iraq. It has disintegrated into a civil war and the domestic situation in the country is constantly deteriorating. The American public has turned against the war and Bush's popularity has declined sharply. Iraq proved a major factor in the Congressional elections on 7 November 2006, which returned a Democratic majority in both Houses.

  • 19 January 2007

    This conference was organised in order to get a clearer view of Iranian foreign policy, in particular concerning Iran's regional role and EU-Iranian relations.

  • 27 November 2006

    L'intégration régionale au Maghreb, comme solution possible à l'impasse. La situation dans les pays du Maghreb ne s'est pas améliorée visiblement au cours des dernières années. Le rapport des Nations unies sur le développement humain de 2006 place les trois pays du Maghreb central au niveau de développement moyen, aux postes 87 pour la Tunisie, 102 pour l'Algérie, et 123 pour le Maroc, soit à des niveaux inférieurs à ceux de la Chine, du Pérou et de l'Ukraine, par exemple. Tous ces pays ont des populations très jeunes, des carences sérieuses au niveau de la santé et de l'éducation et, dans une vaste mesure, sont en marge des processus de la mondialisation.

  • 03 November 2006

    In the winter of 2002-03, supporters of regime change in Iraq were upbeat in their vision of the post-invasion phase of the war. Yet a sober assessment of the difficulties ahead would have helped to avoid many of the mistakes that have proved to be so costly in terms of American lives and resources - not to mention the suffering of Iraqis.

  • 01 October 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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    01 October 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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    01 September 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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    01 July 2002

    On s’accorde généralement à dire que, depuis son lancement en 1995 à Barcelone, le Partenariat euro-méditerranéen n’a pas vraiment répondu aux grands espoirs qu’il avait suscités. Les ambitions initiales de cette nouvelle forme de politique méditerranéenne étaient en effet très importantes : assurer la paix et la stabilité régionale, encourager un développement économique partagé, permettre une meilleure connaissance mutuelle de part et d’autre de la Méditerranée.

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    15 July 2000

    Immigration is certainly not a risk in itself: European countries need the contribution made by immigrant workers, and it is desirable that Europe’s doors remain open in a concerted, controlled way. On the other hand, illegal immigration presents a double risk to the stability of European countries and the security of the clandestine immigrants, who often undertake this adventure at the risk of their lives.

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    01 March 2000

    The WEU Institute for Security Studies organised a seminar on ‘The future of the Euro-Mediterranean security dialogue’, on 13-14 January 2000 in Paris. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibilities of enhancing the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership’s political and security chapter, including the establishment of a military dialogue within the Barcelona Process.

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    01 November 1999

    This paper analyses one of WEU’s several types of membership while addressing the issue of participation of WEU Associate Members in the EU decision-making process for Petersberg operations. European Members of NATO which are not members of the EU (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland, Norway, Poland, and Turkey) are Associate Members of WEU, with which they maintain a close relationship.

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    01 February 1999

    Cooperative security will increasingly replace the traditional balance of forces mechanisms, to the extent that multilateralism spreads as the means by which states are coping with the manifold new challenges to the prosperity and security of their citizens. The borderline between international humanitarian concerns and the definition of national interests is therefore also fading.

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    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.

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    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.

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