North Africa: regional dinamics and opportunities
Julian Barnes-Dacey, Middle East and North Africa Programme Director, European Council on Foreign Relations
Amine Bennis, Visiting Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations
Anthony Dworkin, Research Director and Senior Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations
Arturo Gonzalo Aizpiri, Director General for Communication, Institutional Relations and the Chairman’s Office, Repsol
Eva Martínez, Director General for the Maghreb, Mediterranean, and Middle East, Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation
Tarek Megerisi, Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations
José Ignacio Torreblanca, Head of the Madrid Office and Senior Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations
The Maghreb region directly impacts upon critical European interests. Despite European efforts to support stability and reform in the region, economic opportunities remain limited and political and social tensions continue to grow. In Libya, a precarious ceasefire is in place following a prolonged civil war, but the possibility of a return to conflict remains as long as a UN-led political agreement is not reached. The protest movement in Algeria has subsided, but the government has been unable to command popular support or implement the reform measures required to address possible drivers of instability. At the same time, the European Union’s partnerships with Tunisia and Morocco face continued challenges to help counter the persistence of violent extremism and widening sources of instability, as seen in the recent renewed protests in Tunisia.
It is in this context that the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) in collaboration with Repsol, organized this private briefing for representatives from Repsol and the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation. During this off-the-record discussion, ECFR’s leading North Africa experts shared their insight on the political, economic and security situation on the ground, and on how Europeans can support stabilization efforts and enhance cooperation with the region in a range of areas such as energy or engagement with sub-Saharan Africa.