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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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    14August 2008

    This paper opens the debate on cooperation with Iran as an alternative to the West’s current confrontational approach. It proposes détente and eventual partnership as a basis for addressing nuclear concerns, as well as Iran’s increasingly influential role in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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    08August 2008

    Iran’s complex and unusual political system is often perceived as opaque and even arcane by Western observers. This policy brief provides an overview of the power structure of the Islamic Republic and offers an insight into the intricacies of the Iranian system’s decision-making process. It also explains how the various centres of power influence Iran’s nuclear negotiations with the international community.

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    30July 2008
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    Following Ireland’s ‘No’ to the Lisbon Treaty, echoing the French and Dutch voters’ rejection of the Constitutional Treaty in 2005, the EU needs to consider carefully how to win back citizens’ support and thus overcome the fears that are crippling its ability to shape world politics.

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    18June 2008

    EU-Sanktionen gegen den Iran wären genau das fehlende Element, das den Anhängern Ahmadinejads noch abgeht, um sich mit ihren anti-westlichen Ansichten voll durchsetzen zu können. Über Iran, Israel und Europas Energiesicherheit.

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    11June 2008

    Le président algérien Abdelaziz Bouteflika est parvenu à tourner la page de la guerre civile à la faveur de la politique de réconciliation nationale et a été à deux reprises plébiscité pour le choix de la paix. Ce que démontrent les élections législatives est que les électeurs algériens ont tourné cette page. Ils attendent du régime la mise en place d’un agenda politique permettant à l’Algérie d’installer une démocratie, seul moyen de ramener les électeurs vers les partis politiques.

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    13May 2008

    The project of a Union for the Mediterranean has relaunched the debate on Euro-Mediterranean relations in a broader context. In this regard, one should not forget that the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) – the ‘Barcelona Process’ – is much more than a mere intergovernmental process of political cooperation. It is also about using the Community approach.

  • 14March 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.

  • 07March 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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    22February 2008

    George W. Bush will be remembered first and foremost for starting the war in Iraq and the destabilisation of the country that ensued. This means that, unless there is a dramatic improvement in Iraq before 2009, which appears highly unlikely at the present time, Bush will not be remembered as a successful President. Bush took his country into this war although he did not have to – as argued by Zbigniew Brzezinski, this was a ‘war of choice’.

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    29January 2008

    On 6 January 2008 a naval incident took place in the Persian Gulf which gave rise to radically different interpretations by the US and Iran. According to the US, what took place was a major provocation, whereas the Iranians claim that it was a minor incident blown out of all proportion for propaganda reasons. Both versions concur regarding only a few aspects of what happened.

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    01May 2004

    The 2003 Wider Europe/New Neighbourhood initiative and the European Security Strategy that confirmed the EU’s ambition to become a fully fledged regional power and to strengthen its global role could together give fresh momentum to the EU’s Mediterranean policies.

  • 01March 2004

    Trois paradoxes définissent l'attitude de l'Union face au monde extérieur. Le premier est typique de la modernité post-guerre froide : à de rares exceptions près, il est beaucoup plus facile aux Européens de s'entendre sur l'analyse des crises extérieures que sur l'analyse de la politique américaine. Autrement dit, le monde rassemble, l'Amérique divise.

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    01March 2004

    The war on Iraq was without any doubt the main international event in the security arena in 2003. In 2004, the ramifications of the war are taking centre stage as policy-makers gauge the future of Iraq, the Middle East, transatlantic relations and the role of international organisations.

  • 10February 2004

    Du Maroc à l'Afghanistan, tout inventaire de la situation - un an après le début de la guerre en Irak - risque d'être comme de coutume complexe, ambigu, pire pour les uns, meilleur pour les autres, à l'exception de deux évidences : la détérioration continue du conflit israélo-palestinien d'une part ; l'extrême difficulté du « state building » en Irak, de l'autre

  • 22January 2004

    The Bertelsmann Foundation has convened a European task force on Iraq, whose main aim is to assess a possible EU involvement in the political reconstruction of that country

  • 01January 2004

    In the Middle East, we the Europeans should tell our transatlantic friends that American policies are not working satisfactorily. The capture of Saddam Hussein or other positive developments on the ground will not offset the overall unstable situation in Iraq.

  • 01January 2004

    One year after the war in Iraq, the EU is still confronted with two major challenges. The first is in Iraq itself, where the US strategy of stabilisation and democratisation is encountering dramatic setbacks. The second challenge arises from the growing terrorist threat to Western interests and citizens, as seen in the terrible attacks in Madrid on 11 March.

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    01January 2004

    This paper tries to focus on the crisis in the Middle East region in general; suggest new definition of the Middle East and divides it into five sub-regions based mainly on geography and ethnicity and finally tries to evaluate how far the CSCE-OSCE experience could serve as a model for confidence building in the region.

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    01July 2003

    In this Chaillot Paper, five European authors put forward their views on the role played by the European Union in attempts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the beginning of the intifada in September 2000.

  • 01January 2003

    Depending on the moment, it is not uncommon to note two coexistent views of Europe’s political future. The first foresees a disintegration of the Union as an international actor, while the other sees it becoming more resilient and dynamic.

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