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Given the rapidly deteriorating situation, marked by an increase in conflicts and tensions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and its strategic importance to the European Union and its security, the EU must boost its influence there to spur long-term political and economic stability, Foreign Affairs MEPs said in a vote on Thursday.

They say the regional actors should boost their implication in addressing the security concerns there while stressing that the EU must not view the region solely through the lens of short-term security threats.


EU member states must increase their mobilisation in military, logistical, financial and humanitarian spheres in addressing the conflicts in the MENA region, MEPs say and call for better coordination of their efforts, namely in fighting ISIS. The EU should become the main facilitator of a regional dialogue involving all regional stakeholders, the texts argues and calls on the EU Foreign policy chief to ensure a constant high level dialogue with there. The EU must also step-up its engagement in the stalled Middle East Peace process, MEPs stress.


Stronger engagement with and of regional actors


The committee also calls for stronger EU engagement with the regional actors such as the League of Arab States (LAS), the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) or the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), as well as Turkey and Iran in the crisis resolution. It says the international community and MENA governments must do more to prevent financing of terrorism, including through efficient system of penalties to stop the financing of ISIS and the commercialisation of illegally produced oil.


Stability in the region: not just about security alone


MEPs argue that the lack of democracy is among the key causes of political instability in the region and that the respect for human rights and basic democratic principles is the strongest safeguard in the long term against the chronic instability there. They add that the recruitment capacity of ISIS and Al-Nustra Front are fuelled by the economic, political, social and cultural crisis affecting the region and stress the need for EU support in finding a sustainable solution to them to effectively neutralise ISIS.


Plenary vote in July

 

The text, drafted by Vincent Peillon (S&D, FR) and adopted by the Foreign Affairs Committee by 45 votes to 10, with 4 abstentions, will be put to a vote by the whole House when in meets in Strasbourg in July.


In the chair: Elmar Brok (EPP, DE)