Middle East and Northern Africa
The Middle East and Northern Africa region has a special strategic importance for Europe, and not only for reasons of geographical proximity. Turkey, for example, is an EU accession candidate. Moreover, the European Union is the most important trading partner for all countries in the region, and the Arab states are the European Union‘s main energy suppliers.
Furthermore, the region remains the focal point for some of the major challenges of world politics: the Middle East conflict, emigration towards the European Union, the development of peaceful and constructive relationships between Islamic countries and Western democracies.
Most countries in the region do not enjoy democratic institutions and the rule of law. The degree of protection of individual and political freedoms is the lowest in the world (despite some differences between countries). And the same is true of economic freedoms and individual private property protection.
In many countries, civil society is relatively undeveloped and finds it difficult to make itself heard. Freedom of association and freedom of assembly are subject to many restrictions, as is the freedom of the press. The work of our Foundation tackles these issues, supporting various initiatives for greater freedom, tolerance and democracy in the countries of the region.
It was in 1962, with a training project for journalists in Tunisia, that the foreign activities of our Foundation began. Since then our work has expanded both in geographical and content scope.
Today we are present in Egypt, Algeria, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia. The regional office is based in Cairo.