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Conference on the Future of Europe: The EU and its Southern neighbourhood

28 October, 2021 @ 16:00 18:00

LINKS Europe and The City of The Hague are pleased to invite you to participate in this policy dialogue, which is the second in a series of activities that they are organising together as part of the debate in the framework of the Conference on the Future of Europe process. This event will be held at the offices of LINKS Europe, Lange Voorhout 43, in The Hague on Thursday, 28 October 2021, from 1600-1800.

Europe’s Southern Neighbourhood stretches from the Atlantic coast of the Sahel region of Africa to the Khyber Pass, and is made up of various regions, including the Sahel, North Africa and the Levant, and the Arabian Peninsula. Iran and Afghanistan, whilst not in the immediate neighbourhood, are close and important enough to require particular attention.

The EU is already heavily involved in the region but the overall strategy is often perceived to be patchy and insufficient. In the Sahel, the EU is preparing to deploy a large military mission; the Union of the Mediterranean has the ambition to provide a complimentary process to the EU’s own integration processes; and in the Indian Ocean the EU operates a naval mission to combat piracy – one of eleven missions currently deployed in the Southern neighbourhood. The EU is playing an important role in the discussions around the JCPOA with Iran. But as the recent crisis in Afghanistan has shown, the EU’s own capacity to act with its own resources is embarrassingly insignificant. As the United States shifts its strategic posture towards the Indo- Pacific region, many are expecting Europe to step-up and step-in. Does Europe have the capacity, or even the vision to do this? What needs to happen in the short and medium term and what are the tools required? One thing appears to be certain: to succeed the EU needs to approach the Southern neighbourhood with an open mind; it must listen carefully both to its own citizens, as well as to the citizens of the neighbouring countries; and it must always keep its eyes wide open, for both risks and opportunities.

The policy dialogue will look at how the EU engages with its southern neighbourhood, the impact of the Southern neighbourhood on the EU, and issues related to migration, radicalisation, development, and conflict resolution. It will explore particularly whether there are opportunities that can be exploited in order to make this relationship more mutually beneficial.

Participants to the policy dialogue will hear short presentations from four guest speakers, after which every participant present will be asked to contribute their views on the topic in short 1–2-minute presentations, followed by a general discussion. Views from the meeting will be reflected in a short summary of proceedings, which will form part of the final submissions to the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Registration for this event is required. If you require any more information, please email: wmurray@links-europe.eu.

The event will be held under COVID-19 guidelines – attendees will need to present a proof of recovery, vaccination, or test before entry.