Paper

The EU Green Deal. A new momentum for democratic governance in the MENA region?

January 2022

Abstract

Dysfunctional governance and repression lie at the heart of social, economic and political challenges and crises in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The nature of governance, whether autocratic, corrupt, crony capitalist, highly centralised, patriarcal and/or merely incompetent, led to alarming socioeconomic and political grievances.

These grievances accumulated over decades sparking region- wide protests in 2010, 2011 and subsequent years. Without major improvements in the quality of democratic governance  further crises are inevitable, and sustainable stability will remain unattainable, with major negative repercussions for the European Union (EU) itself. Naturally, climate change is augmenting these challenges and increasing the pressure on government performance. The EU Green Deal addresses this uniquely urgent matter in need of assertiveness, namely climate change with its worldwide palpable repercussions and impact for all. The deal has serious implications for economies and hence societies in MENA countries. At the same time, it could and must serve as a vehicle for improved democratic governance in the region. This is also in the interests of the EU’s green ambitions, as lasting environmentally sound and socially just policies in countries beyond the EU will hardly materialise without improvements in the area of democratic governance.

This paper aims to explore these two interconnected areas and provides insights on how the EU can better interweave climate policies with democratic governance.

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