States and societies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are experiencing profound crises of trust, statehood and governance as traditional economic models and social contracts are no longer capable of providing basic services and goods. Socio-economic challenges are compounded by conflict, authoritarianism and the prevalence of deep-seated geopolitical rivalries between major states in the region and beyond. This paper provides an overview of major challenges and opportunities for state and societal resilience in the MENA region and examines priorities and niche areas for action as the European Union seeks to operationalize the goals and ambitions set out in the EU Global Strategy.
Final paper produced in the framework of the IAI-FEPS project entitled “The EU’s New Resilience Agenda in the MENA Region”, December 2017.
1. Resilience and breakdown: four principles for EU action in the MENA region
2. State-society relations in the MENA: a breakdown in trust
2.1 Socio-economic challenges and declining state capacity
2.1.1 Corruption and citizen trust in the state
2.1.2 Informal economies and tax reform
2.1.3 The demographic challenge and youth “bulge”
3. Fostering state and societal resilience in the MENA
3.1 Policy recommendations for the EU