Migrations and the Arab Spring – a new security nexus?

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The Mediterranean is a unique geopolitical region long known for its instability and conflicts. The Arab democratic wave that since 2011has swept the Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries places new challenges to the region’s security. Transitions are far from complete and the outcomes of the Arab Spring are still uncertain, as the political scene remains volatile. The political and social instability in the southern shore increased human mobility within the region and pressure in the South-North axe of the Mediterranean. It has triggered two major refugee crises in the EU’s southern neighborhood and increased fear of massive flows to Europe. The EUresponded by increasing control in its external borders and by adopting other restrictive measures. In this context, the EU’s role in the creation of a true area of peace and stability around the Mediterranean Sea is fundamental. The security interdependence between both shores of the Mediterranean is undeniable. Therefore, the EU must adopt an active position and rethink its cooperation model towards the region. It is the aim of this paper to (a) get an integrated perspective of the main security challenges in the Mediterranean; (b) explore the Mediterranean migratory patterns after the upheavals and assess whether they represent a challenge to European security; (c) analyze the Arab Spring’s impact in the EuroMediterraneanrelations; and (d) assess the Mediterranean as a security complex, while identifying the challenges that the EU’s foreign policy faces in the region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-90
Number of pages29
JournalHuman Security Perspectives
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Arab Spring
  • Security
  • Migration
  • Euro-Mediterranean Relations


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