The EU in the Middle East and North Africa: taking stock and looking ahead
In cooperation with the Amsterdam Centre for European Studies
Initially conceived as a ‘ring of friends’, the EU’s neighbourhood since 2011 has been transformed to a ‘ring of fire’. Long-standing conflicts still persist while at the same time new ones have erupted. The Arab uprisings of 2011 in Tunisia and Egypt, the military intervention in Libya as well as the war in Syria (one of the worst humanitarian crises since World War II) have all posed the EU with different challenges. In a lecture on these events, Colin Scicluna, Director/Deputy Managing Director at European External Action Service, sheds light on the policies implemented by the EU and the future of multilateralism.
The EU revised its landmark European Neighbourhood Policy twice (in 2011 and in 2015) in order to respond to the different socio-economic challenges as well as the so-called refugee crisis. The latest review of the European Neighbourhood Policy and the recently drafted European Global Strategy have been a reaction to all these events and have placed the ideas of security and stability at the forefront of the EU’s response. The EU and its member states are actively involved in several political, military, civilian and humanitarian aspects through different policies and initiatives as the neighbourhood has become increasingly more unstable and insecure. At the same time internal divisions such as Brexit as well as a US administration which has explicitly rejected multilateralism make it harder for the EU to take a leading role.
The aim of this event is to provide an overview of the EU’s policies and reactions leading up to and immediately following the Arab uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. How are all these policies being implemented, especially in a context where the established world order is being questioned by different actors such as the US, Russia and China? Can multilateralism still be counted on delivering results? If not, what are the alternatives and how is the Middle East and North Africa adapting and responding to these changes?
About the speaker
Colin Scicluna joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malta in 1994 and has been posted to Brussels, Dublin, Helsinki and the United Nations in New York. He was also the Ambassador of Malta to Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Kosovo. From 2017, he has been Director and Deputy Managing Director for the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf region in the European External Action Service.
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