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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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  • 20June 2010

    Over the last five decades, the quality of the Mediterranean environment has been increasingly degraded by various human activities. These pressures generate major environmental problems expected to be exacerbated by climate change. Consequently, many initiatives have been undertaken at different levels by various bodies and organisations to contribute to the amelioration of the environmental situation, several of which have had promising results.

  • 18June 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.

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    17June 2010
    By

    Looking at the events surrounding the ‘Free Gaza’ flotilla and the violence that took place on its flagship, the Marmara, it is fair to say that Israel made every mistake that it was possible to make. At every turn Israeli decision-makers allowed themselves to fall into a politically-orchestrated ambush. However, for an Israeli, other emotions come into play: Israel was lynched by international public opinion – Arab as well as European – using allegations of a so-called ‘massacre’ perpetrated on the high seas. Whatever happened there, it certainly was not a massacre.

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    15June 2010

    There is no doubt that the drama surrounding the raid by Israeli elite troops on 31 May  on an aid flotilla carrying supplies to the Gaza strip – an incident in which eight Turkish passengers and another of Turkish descent were killed – has shaken relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv to their core. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is threatening serious consequences if Israel fails to apologise and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu even compared the ‘psychological’ effect of the event on Turkey with that of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the US.

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    10May 2010

    Le numéro sept des 10 Papers for Barcelona 2010 série nous interpelle sur l’une des questions les plus sensibles des relations euro-méditerranéennes : la circulation des personnes. Bichara Khader examine les contradictions entre « les discours généreux » et « les réalités observables au sol » en termes de politique migratoire de l’UE, alors que Catherine de Wenden met en lumière certains aspects de cette problématique auxquels sont confrontés différents Etats membres.

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    30March 2010

    In a show of defiance amid insurgent attacks on polling stations, Iraqis affirmed their commitment to democratic values by voting in large numbers in the general elections on 7 March. The EU played a significant role in the elections, with financial, political and technical assistance before and during the electoral process demonstrating its effectiveness as a political actor.

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    25March 2010

    The national elections in Iraq this month are important for two reasons according to Glen Rangwala. Firstly, they matter for what they show about the political situation in Iraq seven years after the Coalition invasion and subsequent overthrow of the Ba’ath government. Secondly, these elections have, to a greater degree than those held in 2005, the potential to set Iraq on a course towards more stable and transparent governance.

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    20March 2010

    Considering the complexity of contemporary Euro-Mediterranean relations, in this paper the author analyses the variety of unilateral, bilateral and multilateral frameworks and instruments used to structure and implement Euro-Mediterranean strategies and policies.

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    10March 2010

    The Middle East Quartet has laid out three conditions for the recognition of a Palestinian government: the renunciation of violence, recognition of Israel’s right to exist and a commitment to all agreements signed by the PLO and Israel.

    Recently, the EU appears to have shifted its language, demonstrating increasing flexibility in its application of the principles and emphasising the need for intra-Palestinian reconciliation. But is this a step in the right direction? 

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    22February 2010

    Education is a highly political issue on which the whole value system of any society pivots, and in relation to the Mediterranean, it is where the resolution of the current socioeconomic imbalance lies. In two essays, Robert Fouchet, Emmanuelle Moustier and Azza Karam analyse the social structures of education in the countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean.

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  • 30March 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.

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    19January 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.

  • 27November 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.

  • 03November 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.

  • 01October 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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    01October 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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    01September 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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    01August 2006

    The approaching mid-term elections (due to take place on 7 November) to both Houses of the Congress and a number of state governorships may deliver a considerable change in the US and have an impact on its foreign policy.

  • 01July 2006

    From the mid-1990s onwards, the EU followed a unique policy approach in order to engage the Islamic Republic of Iran. Recognising the country's geostrategic position and its importance as an energy supplier, EU countries embraced a policy of dialogue.

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    01July 2006

    This edition of the EUISS newsletter 'ISSues' includes articles about the Iranian constitution, the EU's soft power in the Balkans, and EU dialogue with Iran.

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