North Africa is a geographically strategic region for Italy. Currently, however, the region navigates troubled waters. The Libyan crisis, the rise of the so-called Islamic State (IS), migration flows and economic and energy relations in the Mediterranean basin are key priorities for Italian foreign and security policy. On Libya, the country’s internal chaos has paved the way for the expansion of IS and further increased migration flows from the region. Turning to Egypt, until recently Italy used to be its first European economic partner. However, relations with the al-Sisi regime worsened in the aftermath of the Regeni diplomatic rift. At the same time, Tunisia is facing a difficult transition and the future of the Algerian leadership seems to be still uncertain. How is the Italian government coping with current challenges? The Vienna conference (May 16), co-chaired by Italy and the United States, aimed at finding viable options to the Libyan impasse. Over the last two years, Matteo Renzi’s government tried hard to follow a wider multilateral approach, mainly hinging upon the UN and the EU. In order to foster the Italian role in the wider Mediterranean region, Renzi sponsored Federica Mogherini’s appointment as High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR). Despite all these efforts, Italy is still struggling to cope with the many challenges in its southern neighborhood. Although the Italian government is working to escape the fate of a stalemate in the region, a way out from the crisis is still there to be found.
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.
In June 2014 the then President of the European Council, Belgian Hermann van Rompuy, arrived in Rome on a secret mission. He was to deliver an important message to Matteo Renzi – who had replaced Enrico Letta as Italian Prime Minister just a few months before. The message was on behalf of Angela Merkel, François Hollande and Jean-Claude Juncker, winner of the recent European elections as EPP leader and incoming European Commission President.
Tunisia is one of the key partners for Italian and European politics in the southern Mediterranean. At least, it should be so. The perception, on the other hand, is that most European partners have forgotten Tunisia. The reason is simple: the country had a relatively peaceful “revolution” if compared with other North African countries and five years after taking its path towards democracy this seems to be successfully launched. Unlike Libya or Syria, Tunisia is at peace.
The arrival in Sicily on May 13 of 898 migrants, mainly from Egypt, Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia, marked an important new development in migration routes from North Africa to Italy. Instead of taking the sea from Libya, as is usually the case, the two fishing vessels rescued by the Italian navy in international waters started the crossing from Egypt. After few minor cases in the last two months, this massive arrival is clear evidence that the Egyptian route has officially reopened.
It is well known that the oil and gas sector is the backbone of the Algerian economy, accounting for about 35 per cent of gross domestic product, and two-thirds of total exports; that the first commercial oil discovery was in 1956 and that production started in 1958 during the bloodiest anti–colonial revolt of national liberation in Arab history. And that Italy was at that time – and still is - in great need of this resource for its own development.
ISPI and the European Commission's Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations organized the workshop on “Boosting EU-Turkey Trade Relations and Energy Dialogue”.
Abstract Asia has considerably increased its regional share on world GDP over the past decade, and this trend is expected to continue. It has become the most dynamic region in international trade and the rapid industrialisation of the area can potentially impact the Asian pattern of trade: a doubling of the share of manufactures in world exports is predicted by 2030, while the share of primary products in world imports is expected to rise. Moreover, regional participation on global value chains has substantially expanded, with the leading role of China.
After four decades of Franco's dictatorship, marked among many other things by the isolation in which it immersed the country, within only a few years Spain managed to find its own place on the international stage.
The trauma of the July bailout