Al-Bayan Center hosted the Head of the European Union Delegation to Iraq, Ambassador Ramon Blecua, and senior advisor to the European Union Advisory Mission, Dr. Maria Fantappie, for a discussion on developing the EU’s strategic partnership with Iraq.

Ambassador Blecua described the institutional challenges facing Iraq in light of the formal end of the war against Daesh, emphasising the need to address the root causes of conflict and establish a new social contract that ensures that state institutions are able to effectively respond to the needs of citizens. He also described the ongoing partnership between the EU and Iraq, noting efforts to address humanitarian challenges in the near term, as well as supporting the growth of the private sector and enhancing the investment climate for foreign investors over the medium and long term.

Dr. Fantappie touched on the core challenges facing security sector reform, noting the need for greater professionalisation of security institutions, particularly within recruitment. She also discussed the legislative obstacles and contradictions within the legal system that hamper the ability of security institutions to complement each another and avoid duplication of efforts. Discussing the importance of the younger generation, Dr. Fantappie noted how greater interaction and cooperation were required between mid-level public servants and senior officials to bridge the institutional gap.

Discussions with the audience were wide-ranging, with a particular focus on anti-corruption efforts and the role of international experts; enhancing the education sector; and improving Iraq’s relations with its neighbours.

Through its monthly seminar series, Al-Bayan Center seeks to provide a platform for the exchange of ideas between policymakers and scholars in order to offer new solutions to address Iraq’s challenges.