Europe’s External Action and the Dual Challenges of Limited Statehood and Contested Orders (EU-Listco) project was funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme and ran from March 2018 to February 2021. It investigated the challenges posed to European foreign policy by identifying risks connected to areas of limited statehood and contested orders (hereinafter ALS/CO). Through the analysis of the EU Global Strategy and Europe’s foreign policy instruments, the project assessed how the preparedness of the EU and its member states can be strengthened to better anticipate, prevent and respond to threats of governance breakdown and to foster resilience in Europe’s neighborhoods.

Continuous knowledge between researchers and foreign policy practitioners is at the cornerstone of EU-LISTCO. It aimed to develop policy recommendations for the EU’s external action toolbox, in close coordination with European decision-makers.

The project encompassed a consortium of 14 universities and think tanks located in the EU, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. It is being coordinated by Prof. Dr. Tanja A. Börzel and Prof. Dr. Thomas Risse at the Freie Universität in Berlin.

>> Visit the project’s website.

Research objectives

  • Assess and advance research in the field of limited statehood and contested orders (ALS/CO);
  • Investigate how the preparedness of the EU and its member states can be strengthened;
  • Examine the impact of global and diffuse threats on ALS/COs

Policy objectives

  • Support the research-based implementation of the EU Global Strategy under conditions of limited statehood and contested orders;
  • Support the development of cutting-edge instruments for risk-scanning and management at the EU level;
  • Make policy-relevant recommendations and develop new concepts and instruments to strengthen foreign and security policy cooperation.


The Research Database contains open-access information on European foreign policies towards the Eastern and Southern neighbourhoods, and other external/internal challenges to the EU.    >> Consult it here.

– The Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS) component –

The RSCAS participates into the EU-LISTCO project activities through the contribution of the three programmes Global Governance Programme (GGP), Middle East Directions (MEDirections) and Migration Policy Centre (MPC). It applies the conceptual framework regarding ALS/CO to analyse the tipping points for governance breakdown and violent conflict. It also investigates the prospects and conditions for societal and political resilience.


State Religious Institutions in the MENA: Can They Prevent Violent Radicalization?, Policy paper by Georges Fahmi and Patrycja Sasnal, July 2020

Why Democracy Couldn’t Prevent Radicalization in Tunisia, Blogpost by Georges Fahmi, 22 October 2019


  • Hybrid Governance and Limited Statehood in the MENA Region, Workshop – Day 1, Day 2 (10-11/10/2019)
  • The Social Sources of Support for the Military: Experimental Evidence from Tunisia, Lecture by Kevin Koehler (03/06/2019)
  • Transactional State Building, Limited Statehood, and Crises of Governance in the Arab Middle East, Lecture by Steven Heydemann (15/04/2019)
  • Limited Statehood in Post-Revolutionary Tunisia: Citizenship, Economy and Security, Book Launch by Ruth Hanau-Santini (21/02/2019)
  • Alternative Visions on a New Mediterranean Partnership: Evidences from 700+ Stakeholder Interviews, Presentation by Daniela Huber (11/02/2019)
  • Why aren’t more Islamists taking up arms in Tunisia and Egypt?, Presentation by Georges Fahmi (28/01/2019)
  • Beyond Smuggling: Tunisia’s on-the-ground responses and perspectives to EU’s counter-smuggling practices, Presentation by Gabriella Sanchez (14/01/2019)
  • Power and Desire: Bananas, Dubai and the Revolution in Libya, Presentation by Matteo Capasso (3/12/2018)


Federica Bicchi (GGP) _ Team Leader

Matteo Capasso (GGP)

Georges Fahmi (MEDirections)

Agnes Favier (MEDirections)

Steven Heydemann (Robert Schuman Fellow)

Alain Kfoury (MEDirections)

Luigi Narbone (MEDirections)

Gabriella Sanchez (MPC)

Stefano Vannucci (MEDirections)

Audio-visual outputs

On the sidelines of the workshop on Hybrid Governance and Limited Statehood in the MENA Region (10-11 October 2019, EUI) three experts have briefly spoken to the camera in order to clarify what the most advanced debate on potential threats to the EU is revolving around.