The EU’s New Resilience Agenda in the MENA Region – Final conference

On Friday 3 November 2017, the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and the Istituto […]

On Friday 3 November 2017, the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) co-organized an international conference in Lebanon to present the results of the one-year research project entitled “The EU’s New Resilience Agenda in the MENA Region”. 

Held at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), located north of the Lebanese capital Beirut, the conference brought together researchers, practitioners and policy experts from different fields to discuss the EU’s new Global Strategy for Foreign and Security policy (EUGS) and its impact on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Structured around a keynote speech and three panel sessions, the conference spanned from 9am to 4pm and involved seventeen guest speakers drawn from local and international research centers, universities and organizations. These included the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the EU, the Carnegie Middle East Center, the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EU ISS), the Brookings Doha Center, the European University Institute (EUI), the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Egypt, the Turkish Center for Economics and Foreign Policy (EDAM) and Synaps Lebanon.  

Debate focused on the EUGS’s emphasis on ‘building state and societal resilience’ in the MENA region, with invited experts discussing means and strategies to operationalize this concept in the context of a highly conflictual regional order in the MENA and declining EU leverage and influence over regional developments. Individual panel sessions addressed the themes of governance and socio-economic reforms, security threats, declining state authority and non-state actors as well as the role of bottom-up dynamics and civil society as important incubators of state and societal resilience.

The conference provided an opportunity for authors involved in the IAI-FEPS research project to present the results of their research derived from drafting six in-depth country case studies on the challenges and positive drivers for state and societal resilience in each context. Individual authors presented their research on the case studies of Turkey, Qatar, Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon (the author of the Tunisia case study did not attend due to prior commitments). The six case studies will be published as stand alone papers in the IAI-FEPS Working Paper series over the coming weeks, followed by the publication of an in-depth comparative report covering the whole MENA region and containing concrete policy recommendations directed at relevant EU institutions and stakeholders.  

Read the activity report

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