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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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  • 28 October 2010

    Taking place at the Pedralbes Palace in Barcelona, the EU Institute for Security Studies collaborated with the Centro de Estudios y Documentación Internacionales de Barcelona (CIDOB) for this seminar which aims to promote dialogue and debate among experts on Mediterranean issues.

  • 16 September 2010

    This preparatory seminar for the EU-Washington Forum 2010 focused on understanding the deadlock and connections in the Middle East Peace Process and on considering alternative options for conflict resolution in the US and EU for the Arab-Israeli conflict and resolving the stand-off with Iran.

  • 02 July 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.

  • 18 June 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.

  • 09 February 2010

    Examining and analysing Iranian domestic developments and the way ahead for EU-Iran relations, this working group meeting took place at the EUISS in Paris on 9 February 2010.

  • 11 December 2009

    The EUISS co-hosted the second Seminar on Turkey and the ESDP at Bosphorus University in Istanbul on 11 December 2009. The debate centred on the assumption that an open CSDP is not only a viable idea, but could also constitute a suitable framework for enhanced security cooperation with third countries in a multipolar world.

  • 30 March 2009

    The EUISS organised a one-day Task Force which focused on the situation on the ground after the Gaza crisis; European actors; European policy instruments; and perspectives from different EU institutions.

  • 26 January 2009

    The EUISS organised a seminar to consider what relations should be established between the bilateral and multilateral dimensions of Euro-Mediterranean relations to pursue the July 2008 Paris Summit objective, and what agenda Euro-Mediterranean relations should have in the perspective of Barcelona 2010.

  • 14 March 2008

    This high-level seminar held in Rabat in partnership with the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation examined Morocco's relationship with ESDP, including Moroccan involvement in EU and other peacekeeping missions to date, and priorities for cooperation between the EU and its Mediterranean partners.

  • 07 March 2008

    The Institute hosted a roundtable discussion where participants discussed the French-led proposal for a Union for the Mediterranean, revisited the principles, achievements and challenges of the existing Barcelona Process, and assessed evolving Euro-Mediterranean challenges.

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    23 July 2015

    The decision by EU member states – and others – to supply the Iraqi Kurds with weapons in the face of an onslaught by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) seems logical. But what unintended future consequences could this have?

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    26 June 2015

    When it comes to counterinsurgencies, violence merely begets violence. So what exactly is needed to successfully tackle insurgents? And why is it that Arab governments and militaries have such a poor track record in this domain?

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    26 June 2015

    With law enforcement agencies pooling resources to counter ISIL's online propaganda, this Alert seeks to raise awareness of the jihadists’ use of the so-called ‘Dark Web’, the hidden underbelly of the little explored Deep Web.

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    12 June 2015

    At first sight, Arab parliaments seem to have reverted back to their pre-2011 role as empty shells, rubber-stamping the government’s decisions. This Alert, however, reveals a more nuanced state of affairs whereby Arab parliamentarians in some countries are – slowly – growing into their roles.

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    17 April 2015

    This Brief takes a look at the implosion of Yemen’s armed forces, and how this has exacerbated the already dire security situation in the country. It seeks to underline the complexity of the dynamics on the ground, proving that the causes of Yemen’s woes go beyond over-simplistic explanations based on sectarian antagonisms.

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    10 April 2015

    It is now four decades since the outbreak of Lebanon’s civil war. But with similar conflicts spreading across the Middle East, the country’s tragic history can still provide useful lessons on how to end such violence.

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    20 March 2015

    Algerian decision-making circles have come to the conclusion that the country is once again facing a protracted war with Islamist terrorism. But unlike the dark decade of the 1990’s, Algiers is now combating jihadists which operate across borders and threaten its entire neighbourhood.

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    27 February 2015

    This Alert examines the effects of the country’s Political Isolation Law (PIL). Although part of a necessary process of political transition, does this ‘deqaddafication law’ go too far?

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    27 February 2015

    Four years after the toppling of Qaddafi, Libya is perilously close to economic collapse. Growing political factionalism and the prevalence of security vacuums have facilitated the proliferation of armed militia groups, while the destruction of the country’s oil infrastructure poses a serious risk to any chance of future economic prosperity.

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    17 February 2015

    This report, the outcome of a series of meetings of the Arab Foresight Group, an initiative undertaken by the EUISS, presents three alternative scenarios for the Arab world in 2025. These take into account those ‘megatrends’ which are unlikely to change, and outline three different ways in which policymakers can respond to the crises that currently beset the Middle East and North Africa.

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