Five years after the launch of its Global Strategy, the European Union faces increasing complexities in its neighborhood and at the global level. In its pursuit to expand its global role, the EU has embraced a more autonomous approach in the development of a “Strategic Compass.” The goal behind this initiative is to address shared threats and challenges faced by countries of the region and strengthening the common security and defense culture in four interlinked areas: crisis management missions, resilience, capabilities and instruments, and partnerships.
The Middle East and North Africa region may serve as an experiment of this new approach. A decade after the Arab Spring, the area is still living in a fragile phase in political, security, and socio-economic terms. While the US withdrawal from Afghanistan is likely to add new challenges to the region already characterized by intra-regional rivalries and protracted conflicts, the Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated economic and social structural issues in many MENA countries. In this context, it remains to be seen how the Strategic Compass will shape the EU policies towards countries of the region.