Evaluating Euro-Mediterranean Relations

Evaluating Euro-Mediterranean Relations

Evaluating Euro-Mediterranean Relations

Evaluating Euro-Mediterranean Relations

Synopsis

This book consists of a comprehensive analysis of the evolution five years ago. The indroduction consists of a summary of the main development in each of the three chapters of the Barcelona Process.

Excerpt

Almost a decade has passed since the signing of the Barcelona Declaration in November 1995, when the Foreign Ministers of the European Union (EU) and their colleagues from all the countries around the Mediterranean pledged to progressively establish a Euro-Mediterranean area of peace, stability and prosperity at the horizon of 2010.

Since then we have seen profoundly asymmetrical developments in the EU and the Mediterranean: an EU frantically struggling to keep up with the constraints of globalization, a Mediterranean falling further behind.

The EU has been moving into new areas. It has undertaken two major constitutional reforms, the Amsterdam and the Nice Treaties. It has successfully introduced a common currency, the Euro. It has virtually completed its single market for goods, services, capital and people. It has started to develop a common security machinery to be ready for action by 2003. It has made great strides towards a common area of law and security.

The EU has also set itself the objective to become a knowledge society and a common area of research and science by 2010. It has readied itself for the fifth enlargement: by 2004, 10 new member countries from central Europe and the Mediterranean are expected to join the EU, after having undergone, during the last 10 years, a thorough transformation process of their economic, social and political systems.

During the same period, most of the EU's Mediterranean partner countries have moved ahead very slowly. The prosperity gap with Europe, especially Central European countries, has further widened. It would have widened even further without the general rise of oil prices and a significant slowdown of demographic growth, the only positive developments in the region.

There has been no attempt whatever towards more economic, let alone political, integration. The Maghreb has not advanced a bit towards closer cooperation, contrary to what had been called for by the 1989 Treaty on the Maghreb Union.

Throughout the Mediterranean area, the reform process has been lamentably slow. Privatization and deregulation of the economies are still in the very beginning. Hardly any country has made convincing strides on the path towards political accountability and democracy.

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