Since the Arab spring, there has been a shift in the power balance in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The influence of the United States has decreased, especially after President Trump evacuated US troops from Syria. Russia has therefore grasped the opportunity to extend its own role as broker, but without succeeding in reaching any form of new regional hegemony. Consequently, regional actors have been able to re-establish their autonomy, including Turkey, despite retaining its NATO membership and its candidacy for EU membership. Until now, the EU has played a role in the fight against ISIS under the umbrella of US military leadership. However, as illustrated by crumbling US support for the Kurds, an EU-US partnership is no longer effective. Can the EU find its feet as an influential power for the promotion of peace in the region and beyond? Or will the lack of US support mean the EU will lose its footing, paradoxically indicating its limitations as a key actor across its Mediterranean borders?
Chair: Olivier Roy, Professor at the RSCAS and scientific adviser of the Middle East Direction Programme, EUI.