Event Panel Discussion: Putin’s Playbook in the Middle East and the Implications for the EU

Panel Discussion: Putin’s Playbook in the Middle East and the Implications for the EU

Date(s) - 22/05/2024
14:00 - 17:00

Press Club Brussels Europe


On the 22nd of May the panel event will take place from 14:00 to 17:00, both physically at the Press Club Brussels and virtually streamed online. The agenda will focus on Russia’s increasing role in the MENA and Africa regions and its impact on EU-Russia relations. Key topics for discussion include the effectiveness of EU policy in third countries, the EU’s engagement with Middle Eastern monarchies and African nations in light of Russia’s interests, and strategies for European policymakers to address these developments.

Russia’s growing presence in the Middle East and Africa has sparked significant international concern in recent years, particularly following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Despite facing isolation from the West, Russia has continued to pursue an active foreign policy, demonstrating President Vladimir Putin’s ambition to restore Russia as a global power.

The event will provide the opportunity to have an insightful discussion on Russia’s quest for a greater role in the MENA and Africa regions, occurring against the background of the deepest crisis in EU-Russia relations, and whether this Russian renaissance with Middle Eastern and African states will last.


  • Evaluation of EU Policy Effectiveness for Third Countries
  • EU Efforts in Garnering Support from Middle Eastern Monarchies and
    African Nations
  • Understanding Russia’s Increasing National Interests and Strategic Influence
  • Strategies for European Policymakers to Respond Appropriately

The event will feature prominent experts and analysts, including Anna Borshchevskaya, a leading authority on Russia’s foreign policy in the Middle East, Member of the European Parliament Ryszard Czarnecki, and Dr. Koert Debeuf a professor Middle East Studies at the Brussels School of Governance at VUB.



Anna Borshchevskaya is a senior fellow in The Washington Institute’s Diane and Guilford Glazer Foundation Program on Great Power Competition and the Middle East, focusing on Russia’s policy toward the Middle East. In addition, she is a contributor to Oxford Analytica. She was previously with the Atlantic Council and the Peterson Institute for International Economics. A former analyst for a U.S. military contractor in Afghanistan, she has also served as communications director at the American Islamic Congress and was a fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy. Her analysis is published widely in publications such as Foreign Affairs, The Hill, The New Criterion, and Middle East Quarterly, as well as peer-reviewed journals. She is the author of the 2021 book, Putin’s War in Syria: Russian Foreign Policy and the Price of America’s Absence.


Koert Debeuf is a Distinguished Adjunct Professor in Middle East Studies at the Brussels School of Governance, teaching War and Diplomacy in the Middle East at the MA International Security and Strategy. He is a Research Fellow at the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict at Harris Manchester College, Oxford University. He holds an MA in History, a PhD in philosophy, and is a former Director of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy and a former editor in chief of EUobserver. Previously he lived for five years in Cairo where he followed the Arab Spring. From 2003 until 2008 he was advisor and speechwriter to the Prime Minister of Belgium. Koert Debeuf makes regular appearances in national and international media as an expert on international politics, with a focus on Middle East related matters.


Ryszard Czarnecki is a Polish politician and Member of the European Parliament. He is part of the European Conservatives and Reformists party. Born in the UK, he graduated from the University of Wroclaw, where he received a master’s degree in history. He has held various positions, such as Minister of European Affairs, Minister without Portfolio, and Deputy Minister of Culture and Arts, and is the author of six books. Czarnecki served as the Vice President of the European Parliamentary Assembly and coordinated an inter parliamentary forum with the national parliaments of Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. In addition, Ryszard Czarnecki was a member of the Delegation DCAS to the EU (Kazakhstan), the EU (Kyrgyzstan), the EU (Uzbekistan), the EU (Tajikistan), and the Commission to the corporations of parliamentary relations between Turkmenistan and Mongolia. Ryszard Czarnecki has previously received high state awards by the governments of Ukraine, Georgia, and Armenia for his work.


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