Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Research Report

Mediterranean Futures 2030: Toward A Transatlantic Security Strategy

Peter Engelke
Lisa Aronsson
Magnus Nordenman
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2017
Published by: Atlantic Council
Pages: 34
  • Cite this Item

Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-1)
    Alexander Vershbow

    The security interests of the transatlantic community and the Mediterranean region have been closely intertwined for centuries, but never more so than today. The current turbulence along the southern rim of the Mediterranean has caused, among other things, state failure, a new wave of deadly terrorism with regional and global aspirations, and refugee flows into and through Europe on a scale not seen since the end of World War II. This all occurs within the context of the massive human suffering currently being experienced in the region itself.

    The instability in the region has also had an impact far beyond...

  2. (pp. 4-5)

    The Mediterranean basin is in flux. After the Arab uprisings brought an initial wave of optimism that the basin’s fortunes were shifting for the better, the Mediterranean has since entered a period characterized more by conflict and uncertainty. Today, the Mediterranean is associated with instability and divisiveness rather than consistent progress toward shared goals.

    This report, an analysis out to the year 2030, is the latest in a series of Mediterranean futures studies conducted since the Arab uprisings in 2011.¹ It attempts to balance the optimism of 2011 with a sober perspective brought about by the region’s more recent past,...

  3. (pp. 6-14)

    This study identifies core drivers of change that will shape the Mediterranean out to 2030, defined as trends on the one hand and uncertainties on the other. Trends are phenomena where the direction is probable, hence can be forecast with some confidence into the future; uncertainties are phenomena where the direction might be unknown (they can go left or right, up or down) but the impact will be significant regardless of the direction.⁶ Trends and uncertainties can be good or bad, stabilizing or destabilizing, depending on how they unfold.

    Demographic trends are the most predictable drivers of change, and the...

  4. (pp. 15-22)

    Based on the analysis in the first part of this report, this section presents four plausible scenarios (based on the drivers and uncertainties discussed) for the Mediterranean basin to the year 2030. These scenarios are written in the past tense, as if a narrator is reflecting on what has transpired in the Mediterranean basin between the years 2016 and 2030. These scenarios are titled Erosion, Drawbridges, Power Play, and Club Med.

    Erosion is the closest to a “default” scenario out to 2030—wherein events unfold along their most likely trajectories.

    In the Erosion scenario, identity politics will force wrenching debates...

  5. (pp. 23-26)

    The strategic landscape in 2030 is likely to reflect aspects of each of these four scenarios.61 Although the basin has brighter and darker spots, in general, insecurity and instability characterize the region. The United States, European Union, and Mediterranean states and institutions have shared interests in steering the region toward a Club Med or other positive scenario. To do so, they must reorganize their tools for engagement, revise their assumptions, and restructure their partnerships. The United States must prioritize the Mediterranean as a decisive arena for US engagement and enable its partners to act. The European Union should focus on...

  6. (pp. 27-28)

    Despite challenging problems confronting the Mediterranean states, the region holds significant potential. The initial promise of the Arab uprisings disappeared behind a regressive transitional period, but the underlying dynamic was about massed hopes for a better future. Sagging economies, discord, and violence now cast shadows over the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean, but the fact remains that the majority of people in the region aspire to live normal, productive lives in peace with their neighbors. We must not let the headlines out of Syria, Libya, and elsewhere dominate our assumptions about countries on the southern and eastern shores...