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 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.




  • Image of EUISS analyst Dalia Ghanem
    05March 2024
    Dalia Ghanem visited a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon and sheds light on the potentially devastating consequences of defunding UNRWA for its residents and for the security of the country.
  • Download Brief
    18December 2023
    The EU and GCC have a long-standing partnership, but it has been hampered by institutional differences, contrasting values and priorities, and conflicting interests. This Brief explores what steps need to be taken to ensure that the partnership can realise its full potential.
  • Download document
    02October 2023
    Lost in recalibration
    Edited by

    This Chaillot Paper analyses the EU’s relations with five North African countries – Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. In particular it focuses on how the fallout of the war in Ukraine as well as the ongoing migration crisis have affected relations. 

  • Download Brief
    13July 2023
    This Brief examines how EU-Iraq relations have evolved since 2003 and how they can be enhanced. The authors argue that the EU needs to revise its perception of Iraq in the light of how the country has changed over the past two decades, and explores ways for the EU to pursue a more mutually beneficial partnership with the country.
  • Download document
    29June 2023
    The need for a paradigm shift in the EU's Iran policy

    This Chaillot Paper examines the background to the protest movement in Iran, focusing on the profound crises – socio-economic, political and ecological – with which the Islamic Republic is currently grappling, as well as on the issue of gender discrimination and inequality.

  • Download Brief
    15March 2023
    In recent years both China and India have expanded their presence in the Middle East. This Brief shows however that their footprint in the Maghreb is primarily economic and remains light in comparison to that of the long-standing partner of the countries in the region: the EU.
  • Download Brief
    01December 2022
    In the wake of the Arab League summit that took place in early November in Algiers – providing an opportunity for an energy-emboldened Algeria to assert its regional influence – this Brief examines why the organisation has often been criticised for its ineffectiveness, and how the EU and the League of Arab States might improve their institutional cooperation.
  • Download document
    19November 2021
    Of risk and readiness

    This Chaillot Paper shows that successfully tackling climate change in MENA will depend on decisions taken both in the region and outside. Assisting the Arab world in meeting the challenges posed by climate change will be a matter of strategic importance for Europe.

  • 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.
  • Download Brief
    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.



  • 08January 2024

    2023 marked another successful year for the Institute's research. Here we look back at our most popular publications from last year on wide-ranging topics including European defence partnerships, EU strategy towards the Maghreb, and a maps-only volume on the future of AU-EU relations. 

  • Image of people around a table engaged in discussion © EUISS
    17November 2023

    On 17 November, the Institute organised a closed-door roundtable to launch Chaillot Paper 179 on EU and North Africa relations.

  • Image of panellists © EuroMeSCo
    10October 2023

    On 10 October, Dalia Ghanem was invited to the EuroMeSCo Annual Conference in Madrid to discuss Euro-Mediterranean relations. 

  • Image of participants - © EUISS
    13April 2023

    On 13 April, the EUISS hosted and gave a lecture to the Maltese Diplomatic Academy on the impact of the war in Ukraine on the MENA. 

  • Dalia Ghanem on stage
    21March 2023

    Dr Ghanem participated in a hearing at the European Parliament on the on the state of human rights in Algeria.

  • Image of panel - © EUISS
    01February 2023

    On 1 February, the EUISS and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) co-organised a roundtable on Türkiye in the world. 

  • Participants to the discussion sitting around a meeting table © EUISS
    16January 2023

    On 16 January 2023, the Institute welcomed Dr Marc Lynch to debate on the question "How can Europe make sense of the post-American Middle East?"

  • Image featuring the title of the meeting - © Pixabay
    01December 2022

    Dalia Ghanem was invited as a speaker at the 8th annual Rome Med forum organised in collaboration with the Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) and the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

  • Portrait of Dalia Ghanem, EUISS analyst
    02May 2022

    The Institute is glad to welcome Dr. Ghanem as the new Senior Analyst in charge of the Middle East and North Africa portfolio.

  • 08December 2021

    How can the EU best cooperate with MENA countries on cybersecurity? Register to our online event.