In 2011, the European Council on Foreign Relations launched its Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Programme in response to the dramatic protest movements that swept across the Arab world. The MENA Programme seeks to contribute to a new set of North Africa and Middle East policies that support the democratic momentum in the region; transform conflict and security debates to de-escalate crises and where possible drive peace-building solutions; reset EU-MENA relations; guide EU member states in their pursuit of the new opportunities created by change; and see EU member states play a more active diplomatic problem-solving role.
The MENA Programme places priority on generating timely, informed, and provocative analysis that tackles the drivers of political tension, instability, and potential violence in a highly volatile region that faces diverse and dramatic political, economic, demographic, and environmental shifts in the short and medium term. Our analysis and policy recommendations, distributed widely and available to the public on the ECFR MENA website, take the form of Publications, the MENA Blog, videos, and podcasts. In addition events and briefings are convened across Europe and beyond, alongside private briefings to decision makers and policy influencers. Private memos to key policymakers have become one of the MENA Programme’s most effective tools for impacting the thinking, policies, and practices of our target audiences.
The programme’s cutting edge team of researchers and analysts, including visiting fellows, has been drawn from government, research, advocacy, and media backgrounds, all with a high-level of engagement in the region. Our staff have worked on (and in) Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, North Africa, the Levant, and Israel/Palestine, facilitating the development of close links with policy networks and institutes throughout the region.
ECFR’s Council is comprised of former presidents, prime ministers, and foreign ministers, alongside public intellectuals and the private sector. This ensures that our research is focused on actionable, practical output. With offices in six European capitals plus the London headquarters, the organisation is particularly well placed to engage a range of EU governments and to help shape an improved EU member response to the challenges of the Arab Awakening and the MENA region.