THE EU NEEDS A MORE COHERENT AND AMBITIOUS FOREIGN POLICY TOWARDS THE MIDDLE EAST
The Middle East is in the throes of a profound transformation. After decades of seeming stagnation, the region’s political, economic, ideological and even territorial balance is being re-drawn at a dizzying speed. But the transformation of the Middle East did not begin with the Arab Spring of 2011. Over recent years, the Middle East’s regional order has experienced a more gradual, but no less dramatic, transformation of its own as new regional actors have sought to reshape the Middle Eastern balance in their favour.
The transformation of the Arab world’s domestic order and that of its regional balance of power represent a major challenge to a changing and weakening European Union. There are some hard choices lying in wait, and a policy of “muddling through” is no longer an option if Europe wants to maintain its long-standing ambition of becoming a global actor in its own right.
The Finnish Institute of International Affairs has published a FIIA Report about the EU’s future options as it approaches a changing Middle East. The report is based on a number of expert round-table meetings convened at FIIA throughout autumn 2010. The editor of the report, Timo Behr, works as a researcher in FIIA’s European Union research programme.