´A ´reset´ with Algeria: the Russia to the EU´s south´, S. Denison & H. Derbouche

In ‘A reset with Algeria, the Russia to the EU’s south’, Susi Dennison and Hakim Darbouche examine the energy, security and migration issues that lie behind Europe’s relationship with this key North African nation. Susi also wrote an article, ‘The EU and Algeria: reasons for hope’.

A ´reset´ with Algeria: the Russia to the EU´s south

Algeria is at risk without EU-backed reform

While Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have been convulsed by uprisings and conflict, Algeria has remained calm. But if upheaval does spread to Algeria this will further destabilise the region and harm Europe’s interests on issues of energy, security and migration.

In a new paper published by ECFR, ‘A “reset” with Algeria: the Russia to the EU’s south’, Hakim Darbouche and Susi Dennison argue that Europe must shift the balance of power with Algeria, one of its key energy suppliers, in order to encourage much needed political reform and safeguard its own interests. The EU has a window of opportunity: Algeria has already felt the pressure for change, and indicated this week that it is willing to come to the negotiating table on a action plan for reform.

The authors argue that unrest has so far not ignited in Algeria because of its population’s memories of conflict and the money available for the authoritarian government to buy-off discontent. However,without reform, Algeria remains open to the risk of a violent upheaval, and this matters to Europe:

Click here for the pdf of ‘A “reset” with Algeria: the Russia to the EU’s south’

“Changes in North Africa are an opportunity for Europe to ‘reset’ its relations with Algeria, a partner that is too important to ignore. Europe must engage to support economic modernisation, developing trade links and spreading the rule of law, strengthening a vital part of our common neighbourhood.” Susi Dennison.

“In today´s Middle East no regime is completely immune to pressure. Algeria has a greater buffer, both financially and politically, but only reform can in the medium-term safeguard the state. The EU needs to strike now, offering a new kind or reform-oriented relationship." Daniel Korski, ECFR Middle East director.

Key facts:

21-XII-11, ECFR