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Dossier: The changing relations between Europe and North Africa

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North Africa and Europe are linked by history and geography. How do these two regions relate to each other? How has their relationship evolved in the past and how to foster their cooperation?

The revolutionary wave that spread out through most of the North African countries during the ‘Arab Spring’ in 2010 and 2011 marked the beginning of change and uncertainties in the region. Eight years have now passed and while some North African countries are undergoing an arguably successful transition, others remain unstable and continue to struggle with deeply rooted socio-economic, political and ideological differences.

On the other side of the Mediterranean, the EU is still to define a coherent set of policies towards North Africa – one that successfully combines geopolitical interests with a thorough understanding of the complex local dynamics and demands. In recent years, the migration crisis has called for a closer collaboration between Europe and North Africa and although their relationship is placed higher on the European political agenda, the room for improvement is still large.

For a more lasting and fruitful partnership between both sides, it is essential that actors understand each other’s history, societal dynamics and political and economic interests. Our work aims at looking into the rapidly changing dynamics and the interests of governmental, private and civil society actors in North Africa and Europe to understand what drives and what hinders the relations between these two neighbours.

Get in touch with us

Would you like to know more, or would you like to partner with us? Get in touch with Jean Bossuyt via jb@ecdpm.org.


Our latest publication on the topic


Discover the latest issue of our Great Insights magazine, entirely dedicated to North Africa

North Africa was the birthplace of the Arab uprisings in late 2010. This movement affected all the countries in the region, albeit to varying degrees. And while protestors asked in unison for deep political and economic changes, the various governments in North Africa responded differently to their demands. One critical question remains today: after eight years, what is left of the popular uprisings that shook North Africa? This issue of Great Insights will help us to answer this question.


North Africa, Europe and migration


Advancing the impossible? Progress of the joint African, European and international response to the migration crisis in Libya
Tasnim Abderrahim, ECDPM paper, September 2018

Tunisia’s migration dilemma
Tasnim Abderrahim and Anna Knoll, ECDPM blog, June 2018

Egypt under the spotlight: can it be a safe third country?
Tasnim Abderrahim and Anna Knoll, ECDPM blog, March 2017

EU-Tunisia cooperation on migration: conflicting agendas?
Tasnim Abderrahim and Anna Knoll, ECDPM blog, March 2017

The EU’s migration cooperation with North Africa: will the carrot and stick approach work?
Tasnim Abderrahim and Anna Knoll, ECDPM blog, March 2017


Democracy and local empowerment


Beyond slogans: Challenges to local empowerment in transitioning Tunisia
Tasnim Abderrahim, ECDPM, November 2017

Tunisia’s decentralisation process at a crossroads
Tasnim Abderrahim, ECDPM blog, May 2017
This blog was originally published by Sada ©2017, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Tunisia’s new law: another step towards local democracy
Tasnim Abderrahim, ECDPM blog, February 2017

Jemna: The challenge of local empowerment in the Tunisian hinterland
Tasnim Abderrahim, ECDPM blog, November 2016

The Arab Spring, an ‘unfinished revolution’ in Tunisia’s regions
Sahra El Fassi and Alfonso Medinilla Aldana, ECDPM blog, April 2016

Southern Mediterranean NGOs and the quest for a new social contract in the region
Nicola Tissi, ECDPM blog, June 2012


North Africa and regional integration


Starting afresh: The Maghreb’s relations with sub-Saharan Africa
Faten Aggad and Tasnim Abderrahim, ECDPM paper, April 2018

Morocco’s accession to ECOWAS: Building bridges or rocking the boat?
Bruce Byiers and Tasnim Abderrahim. ECDPM blog, February 2018

How North Africa’s look towards the south can shake up AU-EU relations
Faten Aggad and Tasnim Abderrahim, ECDPM blog, November 2017

Regional organisations in Africa: Mapping multiple memberships
Bruce Byiers, ECDPM blog, September 2017. This blog builds on Tunisia’s request to join ECOWAS and links to our interactive map to navigate regional organisations in Africa.

Is the Nile Basin Initiative a ‘regional sailboat’ in choppy geopolitical waters?
Bruce Byiers, ECDPM blog, March 2017

Tackling regional inequalities in Tunisia
Alfonso Medinilla Aldana and Sahra El Fassi, ECDPM briefing note, April 2016


North Africa-EU relations


Evaluation of EU support to Research and Innovation for development in partner countries (field study on Tunisia)
James Mackie, Matthias Deneckere, et al., May 2016

Blurred lines: Cases of EU development and commercial instruments for matchmaking
Sebastian Große-Puppendahl, Bruce Byiers and San Bilal, ECDPM discussion paper, May 2016

A pragmatic review of the European Neighbourhood Policy that leaves some key dilemmas untackled
Greta Galeazzi, ECDPM blog, December 2015

Towards a new European Neighborhood Policy
ECDPM contribution to the EU consultation process – input concerns mainly North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle East
Greta Galeazzi, Alfonso Medinilla, Andrew Sherriff, Anna Knoll, Damien Helly, Faten Aggad and Isabelle Ramdoo, July 2015

Partnership, not parenthood as a basis for Europe’s relations with a new Egypt
Anthony Zielicki, ECDPM blog, July 2012

SPRING programme nine months on: time for much-needed stocktaking
Nicola Tissi, ECDPM blog, June 2012

Power to the people? Reaction to EU response to the Arab Spring
Jamie Balfour-Paul, ECDPM blog, March 2012

Democratic transitions and the EU ‘Deep and Comprehensive FTAs’ with MENA countries: a possible backlash?
Kinda Mohamadieh, ECDPM’s Great Insights magazine article, March 2012

EU support to democracy: a new Endowment first, a strategy to follow?
Alisa Herrero Cangas, ECDPM blog, January 2012

“Revolutions need to come from inside but transitions can do with support from outside” – So, what is the EU offering?
Alisa Herrero Cangas and Faten Aggad-Clerx, ECDPM blog, January 2012

Is the EU’s new SPRING programme so new? Commentary on the EU’s new package for North Africa
Faten Aggad-Clerx, ECDPM blog, September 2011

EU support to governance in North Africa: the limits
Faten Aggad-Clerx, ECDPM blog, March 2011


North Africa and trade


Blurred lines: Cases of EU development and commercial instruments for matchmaking
Sebastian Große-Puppendahl, Bruce Byiers and San Bilal, ECDPM discussion paper, May 2016

A balancing act: EU’s development and commercial goals in North Africa
Sebastian Große-Puppendahl, ECDPM blog, March 2016

Natural resources: a key challenge in regional integration of the Middle East and North Africa Region
Céline Carrère, Julien Gourdon and Marcelo Olarreaga, ECDPM’s Great Insights magazine article, November 2012

Trade for change: EU trade and investment strategy for the Southern Mediterranean following the Arab Spring revolutions
Niccolò Rinaldi, ECDPM’s GREAT Insights magazine article, March 2012

Chinese investments and employment creation in Algeria and Egypt
Chris Alden and Faten Aggad-Clerx, February 2012


North Africa and culture


Preparatory Action: Culture in EU External Relations – Libya Context Note
Greta Galeazzi, European Commission report, September 2014

Preparatory Action: Culture in EU External Relations – Morocco Country Report
Damien Helly, European Commission report, September 2014

Preparatory Action: Culture in EU External Relations – Tunisia Country Report
Damien Helly, European Commission report, March 2014

Preparatory Action: Culture in EU External Relations – Egypt Country Report
Damien Helly, European Commission report, March 2014

Preparatory Action: Culture in EU External Relations – Algeria Country Report
Damien Helly, European Commission report, March 2014


Other


Les relations Afrique-Europe en Afrique du Nord-Ouest et des stratégies régionales pour le Sahel
Damien Helly and Sahra El Fassi, ECDPM podcast, September 2013

The European Union’s Political and Development Response to Sudan
Terhi Lehtinen, July 2001


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