International Conference on "Understanding Political Islam in Arab Mediterranean Countries: Challenges and Prospects for EU Foreign Policy"

On 24 February 2012, the TOTAL Chair of EU Foreign Policy at the College of Europe in Bruges organised an international conference on “Understanding Political Islam in Arab Mediterranean Societies: Challenges and Prospects for EU Foreign Policy”.

The objective of this conference was to shed light on the position of political Islam in Arab Mediterranean societies in order to clarify the changing context in which the European Union implements its foreign policy. In the aftermath of the Arab revolutions and uprisings, the EU has to deal with new interlocutors, including important movements and political parties which claim an Islamic identity and agenda.

In view of the relative neglect of the Islamic dimension in debates and academic literature on EU foreign policy, this conference aimed to improve the understanding of Islam as a political, social, economic, identity and moral factor and to lay the foundation of a balanced European approach towards Arab Mediterranean societies and their different tendencies.

The guest speakers were experts on political Islam as well as practitioners from Arab Mediterranean countries and the EU. The morning session was dedicated to a presentation of the relations between Islam and the Arab Mediterranean political space, with particular emphasis on the role of Islamic identity, the different trends within political Islam, as well as the socio-economic role of Islamic movements. The afternoon session focused on the current role of political Islam in various Arab Mediterranean countries and on the policy implications for the EU and its Member States.

Executive summary TOTAL Conference

Conference Report TOTAL Conference

This conference was organised by Prof. Stephan Keukeleire (TOTAL Chair), Prof. Erwan Lannon, and Charles Thépaut (TOTAL Chair)

Contact information

TOTAL Chair of EU Foreign Policy,
EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies,
College of Europe,
Dijver 11,
BE-8000 Bruges,
Fax +32-50-477250

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