Geography makes Northern Africa a strategic region for Italy. Nowhere is this more evident than in energy relations, as large natural gas pipelines today run from Algeria (via Tunisia) and Libya over the Mediterranean seabed to reach Italy’s southern shores. These pipelines are the outcome of negotiations that lasted years and, at the same time, a testament to long-term relationships, almost unbroken by political ups and downs.
Trade, business, geography, geopolitics and wars. Since Caesar’s time, it has been hard to find two countries on the shores of the Mediterranean as connected as Egypt and Italy. After the discovery of the Zhor gas field, with a potential investment of 10 billion euros, ENI, the Italian oil and gas company, became an essential partner in the development of the Egyptian energy. With trade worth 5 billion euros, Italy was Cairo’s leading European partner.
Two years after the Revolution that toppled former President Ben Ali, where does the Tunisian transition stand? Which direction is the transformation process of Tunisian institutions taking? Do Tunisian people see real changes?
The election of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mohammed Morsi, as Egypt's first civilian elected President in June 2012, does not seem to bring Egypt's transition to an end. Morsi is challenged for two main reasons: one is what he has done since he was elected President, which has unleashed the criticism of non-Islamist forces who accuse him of “Ekhwanizing” the state, silencing his critics, and firmly consolidating a new autocracy of a religiously ideological nature. Second is the challenge in searching for a new foreign policy posture and seeking a reinvigorated regional role.