European foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is highly fragmented. While a plethora of initiatives towards Maghreb and Mashreq countries have been developed, these are not contained within an overarching EU strategy for the Middle East.
Many member states insist upon the Mediterranean's separation from other dimensions of Middle Eastern policy as a positive distinction of European foreign policy. However, important trends now render the divide between Europe's Mediterranean and Gulf policies increasingly incongruous.
This paper concludes that it makes little sense for the EU to work against the grain of trends that see Gulf states increasingly active in and interdependent with Mediterranean states in addition to the US making efforts to re-engage more positively with the Arab world.
This Working Paper is supported by the European Commission under the Al-Jisr project and was presented by FRIDE at a conference organised by Istituto Affari Internazionali in Rome on 11-12 December 2009.