Towards a Security Architecture for the Mediterranean: a Challenge for Euro-Mediterranean Relations

April 2016


The EuroMeSCo Annual Conference “Towards a Security Architecture for the Mediterranean: a Challenge for Euro-Mediterranean Relations” was held at the Egmont Palace in Brussels on 13-15 April 2016. The event, co-organised with EGMONT – The Royal Institute for International Relations, gathered 150 recognised experts and policy-makers to debate the current security situation in the region and reflect on ingredients, formats, stakeholders and actions for a greater and more effective cooperation to address security challenges. The following report summarizes the discussions and outcomes of the EuroMeSCo Annual Conference 2016.

The report starts with an account of the presentations and discussions that were held in the Plenary Sessions. They constitute a valuable contribution to the mapping of the main threats that the Mediterranean region is facing as well as of the main existing security frameworks. They also offer interesting insights on how the security order in the region should be reviewed in order to address those challenges. While doing so, the various constraints towards establishing a renewed security system in the Mediterranean and the role of various actors and organisations in contributing to this effort are analysed. The position of the European Union as an actor in the region and the impact of domestic challenges on its external leverage are leading threads of the report.

Three additional “thematic sessions” offer in-depth analyses of the multidimensional security threats and challenges in the region, including the hard security threats (with a focus on Libya), the impact of domestic political and economic developments on the stability of states in the region, and finally the energy and environmental challenges (with a focus on the outlook for the petroleum production in the Eastern Mediterranean and the water-related challenges). Again, the EU´s role in addressing those challenges is analysed and some proposals are put forward on how its approach could be made more strategic.

Finally, the report also includes the sessions where the work of EuroMeSCo joint research groups was presented. The topics discussed included radicalisation, the situation of refugees in selected Southern Mediterranean and European countries, youth activism in the MENA region since the Arab uprisings, post-conflict future of Syria and prospects of Tunisian transformation.

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