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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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  • 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?"

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • EU Flag blowing in the wind © EUNAVFOR Atalanta, 2013
    11June 2021

    From 7-11 June 2021, EUISS co-organised module 4 of the 16th High-Level Course on the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

  • 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.
  • Download Brief
    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.
  • 26March 2021

    In this new miniseries we look at past expectations that turned out to be untrue and try to learn from past mistakes.

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