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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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  • Download Brief
    29September 2021
    A survey conducted among young people in the Middle East early in 2021 probed how this generation feels about the future. The results belie the perception that young people in the region are pessimistic or fatalistic, instead highlighting a relative optimism, and concerns over issues that they feel will be of particular importance in their future, such as healthcare and political representation.
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    21April 2021
    Since Islamic State lost its territory in Iraq and Syria, it has adapted its future script according to its circumstances. This Brief explores how the organisation invests in and manipulates an end-of-times narrative that exerts strong appeal for its followers, and will influence its next steps.
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    30March 2021
    This Brief examines the oil-conflict nexus and analyses the effects of the recent pandemic-induced oil price shock on three vulnerable, conflict-affected countries.
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    22January 2021
    Edited by

    The 12 scenarios presented in this Chaillot Paper draw attention to the cost of inaction in a variety of areas, ranging from Russia to Africa, from cyberspace to environmental matters.

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    18December 2020
    Edited by

    The volume presents 15 fictionalised scenarios that imagine how future conflicts might occur. These scenarios contribute to, and at times challenge, the existing body of assumptions concerning the genesis of conflict, its likelihood and how it might play out.

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    30November 2020

    This Chaillot Paper looks at the police in the Arab world – an institution at the centre of political life but one that is very much under-researched. After years of attempts at reform, it seems that not much progress has been made in reducing corruption and violence, or increasing police efficiency. Why is it so hard to reform an institution so deeply embedded in the daily lives of citizens?

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    31July 2020
    Concerns about the ero­sion of the ‘taboo’ on chemical weapons use have deepened in recent years, in particular following the chemical weapons attacks that have taken place in the Syrian conflict. The sanctions regime against the proliferation and use of chemical weapons which the EU adopted in October 2018 constitutes the Union’s first coercive instrument against chemical weapons, and is an attempt by the EU to support the multilateral chemical disarmament regime after efforts to frame a response via the United Nations Security Council failed.
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    30June 2020
    Beijing’s new activism in the Middle East reflects the evolution of Chinese foreign policy thinking, in line with the country’s rise as an economic superpower. Economic goals rather than ideological considerations have become key criteria in China’s selection of partners in the region, especially those which can provide the energy resources necessary to fuel China’s continued dynamic growth. Although as yet China is not overtly seeking to displace the US as the dominant power in the region, its penetration of the Middle East inevitably has far-reaching foreign policy and security implications.
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    11June 2020
    The global crisis caused by the Covid-19 outbreak has had particularly disruptive consequences for conflict-affected countries around the world. Armed groups have capitalised on the crisis, while the global distraction caused by the pandemic has made it difficult to seize opportunities for peace. This Brief analyses key repercussions in conflict-affected countries in general, and in five countries in particular: Colombia, Libya, Sudan, Ukraine and Yemen.
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    21April 2020
    The ongoing conflict in Yemen is complex and multi-layered, with the involvement of rival regional powers adding a geopolitical dimension to the war. As the national framework has disintegrated, local rivalries have intensified, leaving more room for foreign state interference in the country. In this fragmented political landscape, militias and other armed groups have come to play a prominent role in Yemen’s security governance. This Brief analyses the intertwined layers of conflict in Yemen and their implications for war resolution efforts, arguing that reforming the state on the basis of a decentralisation of power is key to rebuilding national institutions and achieving peace.

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