Nottingham Trent University (UK) organized a one day interdisciplinary conference being aimed at a broad audience of academics, practitioners and students interested in the contemporary MENA. The conference explored the processes of change currently shaping the MENA. It drew together research from different fields (including International Relations, International Political Economy, Middle Eastern Studies, History, Business and Law) in order to explore how far the changes shaping the MENA are leading to the region’s polarisation between states that are integrating politically and economically with each other on the one hand, and states that are disintegrating internally on the other. The conference consisted of six panels; my lecture (slides) can be downloaded from here:
The European Union welcomed the demonstrators’ demands wholeheartedly during the Arab Spring, trying to maximize the assistance that it could offer to support genuine democratic transition, at least at a rhetorical level. This article reflects on the changes in the neighborhood policy by focusing on public perceptions measured in Europe and in countries in close proximity to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. European views on solidarity are compared to local public opinion on EU involvement in the region. Recipient views in Jordan, Egypt, Palestine, and Israel are explored by analyzing relevant results of the Arab Barometer and Neighborhood Barometer surveys. Findings indicate that the Middle Eastern public opinion tends to appreciate the EU’s gestures with the exception of Egypt, but conditionality is more in line with European public opinion.