This dialogue series convened by Wilson Center’s Middle East Program and Global Europe Program explores the future of Europe and MENA relations through the lens of energy needs, food security, and forced displacement crises.
The ripple effects of the war in Ukraine on Europe and the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region have undermined the concept of “localized conflict,” bringing to light the truly interconnected nature of our world. Across multiple regions, the conflict has exacerbated humanitarian crises, deepened dependence on aid, and contributed to political destabilization.
European countries, facing fuel and energy shortages of their own, have been re-examining their security architecture and turning to energy producers in the Middle East to stabilize the global energy markets and address Europe’s long-term energy security needs. Even before the war in Ukraine, food and energy insecurity were rising in central parts of the MENA region and beyond. The combination of ongoing conflict and tensions, together with the accumulating costs of COVID-19, ensured the region would be even more vulnerable to a crisis like the one posed to it by Ukraine, given its dependency on Ukrainian wheat and grain supplies.
The risk remains that over time, energy and food demand will outstrip the international community’s capacity to address these challenges effectively, requiring more durable solutions which are multilateral in nature. Indeed, short-term energy and humanitarian responses will not dampen the threat posed by more colossal challenges – such as those posed by climate change, which will require longer-term adjustments in production, consumption, and trade, but if they are well thought-through, these responses may still offer some insight on how we ought to proceed.
The Wilson Center’s Middle East Program and Global Europe Program will join forces to organize a dialogue series on: energy needs, food security, and forced displacement crises. Following the deep dive discussions, the Wilson Center will dedicate a publication to the focus on the future of Europe and the MENA region.