More than Containment?
Europe’s Policy Options in the Middle East
in Riyadh, 13 March 2017, and Tehran, 15 March 2017.
Crises in the Middle East are multiplying, and Europe has increasingly felt the immediate effects of regional conflicts. Against this backdrop, the primary goal of current European policies seems to be containing security spillover rather than crisis management and prevention. Considering Europe’s geographical proximity and in light of shifting US foreign policy priorities, there is a need for European policy actors to take a more forward-looking and multi-layered approach toward the rapidly evolving situation in the region. For this, a thorough understanding of the region’s dynamics and dialogue with its key stakeholders, in particular Saudi Arabia and Iran, are essential.
The 164th Bergedorf Round Table focused on exploring which role Europe can play in advancing regional stability in the Middle East. In successive meetings in Riyadh and Tehran, a small group of high-level European politicians, senior members of administration, and eminent thought-leaders from academia and media discussed questions of regional security and stability with their respective local counterparts from Saudi Arabia and Iran: What are Europe’s main foreign and security policy priorities in the Middle East, and what are possibilities, but also limitations of its role in the region? What are key areas of common interest between Europe and regional actors, and where do interests diverge? In which fields is cooperation possible? What are expectations of Europe’s role in the region? How should European actors deal with clashing ambitions of regional powers and aggravating geopolitical differences?
Fotos Riyadh: Muzna Qamar