Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 03/2010

Why the European Union Needs a 'Broader Middle East' Policy

Edward Burke, Ana Echagüe, Richard Youngs

December 2009

Istituto Affari Internazionali


European foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is highly fragmented. A plethora of highly institutionalised initiatives have been developed with negligible linkage to policy in the rest of the Middle East and the Gulf. However, two important trends are now making the divide between Europe’s Mediterranean and Gulf policies increasingly incongruous. First, Gulf states are becoming more active in and interdependent with Maghreb and Mashreq states. Second, the Obama administration is trying to re-engage more positively with the Arab world in a way that links together the challenges in the different parts of the Middle East. In response to these changes, the EU should work towards a single Middle East policy.