EUREN Meetings
3rd EUREN Meeting
Russia and the EU in the Wider Middle East
The wars in Syria and Afghanistan and general instability in the Middle East have had serious repercussions for both Russia and the EU. The proliferation of violent extremist groups, such as ISIS, Al Qaida, etc. poses a direct security threat to both. The EU is also strongly affected by the inflow of refugees from the zones of instability along its southern borders and beyond. At the same time, the wars and violent conflicts in the region remain intractable. There are a great number of external regional and international actors in Syria, in particular, with conflicting interests involved in the war. This makes negotiated solutions very difficult to find. Russia and Western actors have never seen eye to eye on the causes and implications of the war in Syria and the necessary political reaction, unlike in Afghanistan. What is more, Russia and the US are lending military support to different sides, which has made it particularly difficult to jointly promote ideas on how to end the war. The degenerating security situation in Libya is another urgent challenge for both the EU and Russia in the region. The development of US policy remains unpredictable, which adds to the uncertainties that already exist. At the same time, Turkey, another key actor in the Middle East and important partner to both the EU and Russia, is also going through important political changes.