European Union interaction with South-Eastern Mediterranean: From “Ring of friends” to “Ring of fire”

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Senior Lecturer
Affiliation: Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
Address: Moscow, Ostozhenka st. 53/2
Journal nameAsia and Africa Today
EditionIssue 2

The Mediterranean region is key in the policy of the European Union, and the countries of the Middle East and North Africa are singled out in the group of Southern neighbors. Over the past decade, the region has undergone a profound transformation. Large-scale challenges - political instability, terrorism, migration, environmental problems and natural disasters - are beyond control. Crisis trends in the Middle East and most of North and Central Africa cause unpredictable and, most importantly, significant side effects that affect not only the security and stability of Europe, but also the functioning of the world system. Destabilizing events have led to the fact that the Mediterranean is now viewed as a source of existential threats. 

Moreover instability in the Southeast Mediterranean has dramatically changed the EU's perspective of the regional partners from a “ring of friends” to “a ring of fire”. This trend is recognized at the official level in the states of Europe, as well as in the EU and NATO. The lack of progress in various EU Euro-Mediterranean Partnership initiatives since the onset of the Arab Spring crises has resulted in a loss of MENA public confidence in EU. 

The article examines the conceptual foundations of the European Union for their policy towards the countries of the Southeast Me-diterranean, as well as identify the key EU approaches in countering the threats and challenges that arise in the region.

KeywordsEuropean Union, Middle East and North Africa, Mediterranean, migration crisis, Arab Spring, resilience, neighborhood policy
Publication date02.03.2022
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