Since 2014, the EU has faced unprecedented flows of migrants and refugees from Syria, Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa. The Syrian civil war turned into one of the worst humanitarian crises since World War II. It created a power vacuum that allowed the Islamic State (ISIS) to take over large parts of Syria and Iraq.
In 2014, Libya’s democratic transition failed, leaving the country with two competing governments and a growing ISIS presence. Since then, the terrorist
organisation has claimed the responsibility for attacks in European and neighbouring countries including in Spain, UK, France, Belgium, Denmark, Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt and Libya. This regional conflagration has triggered massive displacement.
Relatively stable countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia or Morocco have been directly affected by the refugee flows from Syria. These developments have illustrated how interlinked the EU’s internal security and stability is with that of its southern Mediterranean neighbourhood. This fact has also become clear to Europe’s public.
Eurobarometer polls from November 2015 showed that the citizens considered immigration and terrorism the two most important issues facing the EU2. Actually, the peace, stability and security of the Mediterranean region were recognized as a common asset by all the countries of the area, according to the Declaration of Barcelona and the Union for the Mediterranean strategy.