Assessing EU Policies toward the Southern Mediterranean

November 2015
Conference Summaries / Israel and Europe

Some 100 representatives of approximately 75 leading think tanks and research centers from across the Middle East, North Africa and the European Union (EU) gathered on 8-9 October 2015 in Milano to review Euro-Mediterranean relations. Dr. Nimrod Goren participated on behalf of the Mitvim Institute.

The discussions took place as part of the 2015 Annual Conference of the EuroMeSCo Network. Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni was the keynote speaker of the conference, which was attended by four Israelis, alongside representatives from Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Syria, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and the Gaza Strip.

In recent years, discussions at such regional conferences focused on assessing the developments in Arab countries in light of the Arab Spring. However, this year the emphasis was on taking stock and critically examining the European policies toward the Mediterranean just weeks before the unveiling of the EU’s review of the European Neighborhood Policy, which pertains to the countries that border the Union.

The Syrian refugee crisis, as well as the internal conflicts in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, are impacting Europe and require a reevaluation of EU policy. As one of the speakers observed, today Europe is enveloped by crises but it has not taken a leading role in any of them. The result is a highly unstable Mediterranean and a European policy toward the region that is increasingly shaped by domestic concerns.

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