A combination of international factors and domestic changes in both the United States and Italy have created opportunities for new forms of cooperation in North Africa, but the multiple challenges facing the two countries are testing their respective abilities to pursue coherent foreign policies. Given that the Mediterranean basin is still geopolitically fractured and fragmented, the strong tethering of Italy’s interests to the United States (the richest integrated economic area in the world) and to the transatlantic Alliance (the most powerful alliance in history) is bound to impact its overall foreign policy. Egypt and Turkey, for example, have been at odds for the past decade due to rivaling political agendas, and in 2013 broke all diplomatic ties by calling back their respective ambassadors. Libya is entering its 11th year of civil war with rival factions contending power over the oil-rich nation through political maneuverings and violent clashes. Morocco and Algeria are still in open conflict over border disputes, opposing geopolitical alliances and an ever-growing arms race. Because of the Algeria-Morocco conflict, the Maghreb was never able to create an economic union trade agreement which would undoubtedly benefit all countries of the region. 

Please join the Atlantic Council’s North Africa Program and the US Embassy in Italy on September 14 from 8:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. ET for the launch of a new report, North Africa’s transatlantic relations amid change and continuity. The report identifies the potential role for Italy and its diplomacy to play in North Africa, in full agreement and collaboration with the United States and the other main European actors, in resolving some of the thorniest crises in the area and fostering a climate of collaboration around the transatlantic alliance that could help it face the expanding ambitions of rival global powers.

Speakers

Emadeddin Badi
Nonresident Senior Fellow
Atlantic Council

Patricia Karam
Regional Director
International Republican Institute

Alessia Melcangi
Nonresident Senior Fellow
Atlantic Council

Roberto Menotti
Senior Advisor for International Activities
Aspen Institute Italia

Alissa Pavia
Associate Director
Atlantic Council

Report

Aug 29, 2022

North Africa’s transatlantic relations amid change and continuity

By Karim Mezran, Roberto Menotti, Alessia Melcangi, Emadeddin Badi and Alissa Pavia

The purpose of this report is to identify a potential role for Italy and its diplomacy to play in North Africa, in full agreement and collaboration with the United States and the other main European actors.

Italy Libya

Middle East Programs

Through our Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, the Atlantic Council works with allies and partners in Europe and the wider Middle East to protect US interests, build peace and security, and unlock the human potential of the region.