Widespread conflicts and the refugee crisis have brought the Middle East’s troubles closer to Europe. Today, the region’s various challenges, whether a conflict, economic inequality, population growth, or global warming, are of concern to many European leaders. Meanwhile, the space for civic action is closing down rapidly. After decades of activism, restrictions on the freedom of the press, human rights groups, minorities and LGBT rights’ defendants have increased.

CMEC held a fireside chat with Sigrid Kaag, minister for economy and development cooperation, for a discussion on the political economy,  human rights, and Europe’s role in the region.

Sigrid Kaag

Sigrid Kaag is the Dutch minister for economy and development cooperation.

Maha Yahya

Maha Yahya is the director of Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut.