Essay: The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership is one of the main directions of the European involvement in the Middle East region. Therefore Barcelona Process, is major framework of partnership, cooperation and relationship between the European Union and Mediterranean countries. It has started for the comprehensive partnership initiatives’purposed mainly at stabilizing of the southern and eastern Mediterranean through closer cooperation and economic integration as wel, through long-term economic and political transformation. (43, 21)
These principles have been cleared up into three ‘chapters” political dialogue; free trade; economic partnership, and cultural, human, social dialogue, a regional multilateral exchange as well as bilateral cooperation between the European Union and its partners, based on Association Agreements. The Barcelona Process contains three “baskets”:
First Basket ‘The Political Basket’: Promotion of good governance, democracy and political values ;
Second Basket ‘The Economic Basket’: Work on shared prosperity in the Mediterranean, with the inclusion the Association Agreements on the bilateral stage;
Third Basket ‘ The Cultural Basket’: Strengthening civil society and cultural exchange . (44, 51)
The regional dialogue symbolize one of the most significant aspects of the Partnership, including at the same time the economic, cultural and especially political baskets. Properly, the regional cooperation has a mainly strategic impact as it deals with challenges that are whole to many Mediterranean Partners while it accetuates the national supplementarities. The European Union applied a number of Bilateral Activities with each state. The most significant were the Euro-Mediterranean Agreements of Association that the EU consult with the Mediterranean Partners independently. They externalize the general criteria governing the new Euro-Mediterranean partnership, though they each include characteristics specific to the relations between the Union and each Middle Eastern Partner.
More actions has been done since 1995 to gain Euro-Mediterranean objectives. Consultattions for Agreements already included those with Israel (1995), Tunisia (1995), Jordan(1996), Morocco (1997), Algeria (2002). The initial three have been ratified and gone in force too. The following Interim Association Agreements through the Euro-Mediterranean signed by Israel in 1995 and the PLO in 1997 concerning trade linked matters are in force. Consultation with official Cairo are being completed, while with Lebanon are well developed. Those with Algeria and Syria are at a less advanced degree. However these achievements, various challenges have delayed the implementation of the Process of Barcelona. A previous lack of eager on half of the southern countries, the rivalry between the Europe and the U.S., hangup on half of the members countries of the European Union, and the awakening of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute have lingered down the efforts. The initial barrier has been southern countries of the region themselves. According to economic perspective, the Arab countries had no selection but integration into the European economical sphere in a highly global world. Nevertheless, some part of the southern Mediterranean acknowledges of the regional ‘common providence’ differ from the common view. Thus, traditional nationalism, Arabism and Pan-Arabism distinction, African vocation, with European comprehensions of improvement. Some more differences in risk approval have also formed. (45, 67-68)
The majority of southern states have evaluated South-South conflicts, underdevelopment as the some initial destabilizing factors. These countries have also denounced the European accents on soft security challenges and the ‘Fortress Europe’ intelligence. They also emphasize out their major disadvantage in a free trade partnership with higly integrating the EU that excludes agricultural trade and especially imports. The southern countries notice disturbed with the European eager connecting them to the realization of the 3 objectives, with the common principle of transparency and with the sbutlety of their internal affairs weaken by the process. Southern Countries notice rising human rights and realization democratic tools would weaken their societies. Meanwhile, it would dismiss southern elites and their presentation political power. During this last decade, the actions of the European Union in the Mediterranean also have been undermined by American misstres or at best indifference toward European wills. In particular, the USA has represented less interest in organizing its Middle Eastern policy within the Euro-Mediterranean process. Moreover, U.S. security cares often trampled any desire the U.S. government might had to present a more extensive agenda. Washington turned a blind eye to the repression of the Islamic opposition in Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt in due to achieve their consent to the Peace Process in Middle East started at Madrid in 1991. As a consequence of lack of coordination and of the American changing priority to security issues, European and American initiatives in the region complete competing with each-other for the participance of Arab nations. Arab partners are able to act wealthier co-partners off against one another and neither the USA nor the European Union is capable to pose hard social or political conditions on the Arab countries. The European states are also accountable for the ginger development of the process. There was no realistic consensus about the priority of Mediterranean challenges among the European states. It ordered far behind enlargement to Eastern Europe, especially, Cyprus and Malta, the development of European institutions, and the EU’s involvement in the Balkans. There are also some more disagreements among the European states about current risky issues while they cross American interests and this has limited their capacity to gain consensus. Therefore, even if the Euro-Mediterranean partners have approved not to allow the Peace Process in Middle East influence with the Euro-Mediterranean effort, the gradual desertion of the Oslo Agreements damaged reliance and lingered the Partnership’s development. The awakening of the intifada had a strong influence on the Euro-Mediterranean security dialogue. These consultations represent one of the forums for Israeli-Arab dialogue, but Syria and Lebanon both prevented the last meeting in Valencia and the rest of the Arab ministers present refused to face with or listen to Israelian F.M Shimon Peres. (44, 180)
The case of security in the Euro-Med Region, European Union countries have gained ‘economic, diplomatic, and political involvement can be of greater compatibility’. The Euro-Mediterranean cooperation that formed the Euro-Med Region was institutionalised at the Barcelona Conference that brought together Egypt, Cyprus, Algeria, Israel, Jordan, Malta, Lebanon, Syria, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Turkey and Tunisia. The Conference appreciated on founding a partnership between Mediterranean seaside countries in three areas: economic and financial relations, political and security relations, and social, cultural and human contacts and relations. In order toto give practical evaluation to this challenge, the Conference approved on a work programme of actions in a multilateral framework which brought in the private sector to keep role in transferring some additional sources, technological and financial, as well. The base of the Euro-Med partnership is the foundation of a free-trade zone for industrial goods, services during a twelve-year period. The purpose behind this formation is mentioned as not only one of establishing an huge trading bloc, but also providing security, prosperity. Therefore, the Euro-Med partnership structure is based on liberal provisions as can be deduced from UK Malcolm Rifkind Foreign Secretary’s pose to the Barcelona Conference where he mentioned that the Euro-Med had ‘two main structure: political stability and economic development. A analogic logic was at the roots of the formation of the multilateral consultations of the Arab’Israeli peace process. The programme approved at the Barcelona Conference, though less ambitious compared with a CSCE type formation, however imagined that the partners would consult challenges of human rights, fundamental freedoms. The partners also involved for exchanges at civil societal level as a key element of the implementation of the partnership programme. Therefore, one major achievement of the partnership has been to achieve together Lebanon and Syria with Israel as part of a multilateral scheme. The main fact that Syria boycotted the MENA summits commited as a part of the Madrid Peace Process this is no small result. (46, 65)
In 2005, a fourth field of cooperation’social integration, migration, security, and juctice’was included and a code of commit for countering terrorism adopted. Economic, administrative, political reform in southern partners has been backed by European technical and financial assistance through so called MEDA funds and since 2007 through the EN and Partnership Tool.
The contacts between the EU and southern and eastern Mediterranean partner countries are completely included in the criteria of the EMP, there are main diversity in the intensity of cooperation. Till the day, Association Agreements have been consulted, signed, and enacted with whole southern and eastern partners apart from Syria, with which an agreement was consulted and initialed but has not yet been ratified by European members. In 2004, two former partner countries especially, Malta and Cyprus, joined the EU and Ankara started membership consultations. Libya has gained observer status in the EMP since 1999; consultations on a framework agreement began in November 2008.
The EU has possessed in particular close relations with Israel. (49, 131)
In Essen Declaration in 1994, the EU announced the expectation that Israel would benefit special contacts with the EU on the basis of mutuality and same interest. This meant into stronger relationship between Israel and the EU in exchange between people, trade culture, culture, research and other fields than with other eastern and southern Mediterranean partner. In 06/2008 the EU agreed to gradually promote its relationship with Israel even more. Consequently, the European Council in 12/2008 agreed on guidelines for reinforcing structures for political dialogue with Israel, for example, by intensifying high-level accords as well, informal negotiations, by promoting Israel to arrange itself with positions approved in the frame of the Union’s Common Foreign/Security Policy, and by encouraging cooperation on the ground and inviting Israel to act in civilian missions followed under the European Security and Defense Policy. (46, 70)
Since the EMP has had less gain in turning the region toward the ‘zone of stability, peace and shared prosperity’ considered in the 1995 Barcelona Declaration, new policy responses have been attempted. First, after the main enlargement of the European Union in 2004, the EU attempted the European Neighborhood Policy that has purposed both at strengthening bilateral contacts between the European Union and countries in the EU’s southern and eastern neighborhood and at adaptation the reform agenda more to local provisions and local reform principles to give states for remaining reform and taking ownership. The major instruments of the European Neighborhood Policy have been bilateral action plans approved by the European Union and partner, which set out an agenda of ecnomic and political reform with short and mid-term priorities. Financial back then depends on the partner’s performance. Realization of ENP action plans is under a path. This approach is also attempted to comprehend one of the purposes of the European Security Strategy accepted in late 2003: the promotion of a ‘ring of well governed states’ around the European Union with which Europeans benefit deep and comprehensive relations. (47, 155)
The latest action of Euro-Med relations, the Mediterranean Union, launched in 07/2008 by the French EU Presidency, mainly purposed project based cooperation in spheres of common interest. It will therefore improve the partnership closer to more pragmatic, interest-based cooperation than intensified on the long-term transformative approach that remaining the root reasons of security risks. The Mediterranean Union also efforts to give impetus to the Barcelona Process by possing some of its weaknesses, such as lack of co-ownership or institutional balance as well as weak tracsparancy. This should be done through a multilateral cooperation with the participance of some 40 member states: whole European Union members, the Euroepan Commission, whole southern and eastern member states and observers of the EMP, and other countries on the Mediterranean seaside. The political contacts are to be upgraded by holding biennial summits of state leaders or governments, in the EU and in the Mediterranean partner states. Co-ownership of the Union should be strengthened through a co-presidency, a joint permanent, a joint secretariat committee. The partnership’s visibility shoul be improved by some additional subregional and regional projects.
The ‘New Response’ aims adaptation European Union back to partners according to development in building democracy and respect for the rule of law, in a spirit of mutual liability and in commiting the criteria of differentiation. Approving this proposal, the 06/2011 Foreign Affairs Council offered the High Representative and the Commission to ??define the appropriate mechanisms and instruments that will assist deliver these objectives??. The implementation issue and effective monitoring is so important in this framework. The four ‘decisions’ accepted by the European Union in response to acts outlined in the Commission’s Communication are :
The SPRING programme, a ‘350 million flagship initiative launched in Sept 2011 to support political transitions;
A Special Measure designed to support poorer areas in Tunisia to the value of ’20 million;
Additional resources for higher education through the Erasmus Mundus (’66 million);
A Neighbourhood CSF totalling ’22 million and covering the period 2011-2012. (46, 65-66)
The SPRING programme determines on the different approaches highlighted in the last communiqu??s: back will be tailored to the demands of each state, based on an assessment of the country’s development in building democracy and providing the ‘more for more’. While this assessment would be in part based on needs identified by European Union Delegations working with partner governments and international stake holders, the lack of civil society input in the formation process is subject to critique. SPRING is seen by some as a financial top-up to remaining initiatives in the framework of the ENP. (47, 85)
The other policy initiatives of 2011 purpose by the European Union in its response to the developments of the Arab Uprisings are specific instruments formed to directly back civil society and non-state actors. Both the CSF and the EED are styked as flexible instruments to be applied depending on need and absorption capacity ‘ both of which are based on assessments from in-country Delegations. The effective input of civil society is questionable, and therefore the European Union is at risk of widening the disconnection between donor and partner contrary to its stated aims. Through the CSF, the EU claims to acknowledge the importance of civil society’s role in contributing to policy making and holding governments to account. The CSF was in part a reaction to the excitement generated by the role played by Information and Communication Technologies in mobilising citizens around agendas of democratic change. The EU states that its aim is to back CSOs to develop their advocacy capacity, their ability to monitor reforms, and their role in implementing and evaluating EU programmes. Whilst these statements are commendable, it is important to remember that the EU has on many a previous occasion expressed its support for civil society ‘ rhetoric which has not always translated into impact. The Action Fiche for the CSF does however maintain that it is ‘informed by the experience of existing programmes in support of non-state actors be it at global level or in other regions’. It is essential that policy revisions articulated by the EU build on existing processes and offer complementary value rather than create an overlap of policy reviews. Moreover, although there was a regional call for proposals in November 2011, concerns continue over the slow disbursement under country level calls for proposals. (49, 121)
The idea behind an EED, still at its planning phase at the time of writing, is that the EU benefit from an independent and un-bureaucratic instrument separate from other EU co-operation instruments. It is intended to support the further emergence of civil society together with political actors, non-registered NGOs, and trade unions. It is an attempt to contribute to the strengthened approach to democracy support developed in the context of the ENP and of the EU Agenda for Change. The major challenge will be to maximise the EED’s value in relation to existing EU instruments and to develop Europe’s specific niche in providing democracy support. The ‘acid test’ will be if the EED can attract sufficient starting capital and clearly define partners and beneficiaries, specially in the context of the eurozone crisis.
Generally, in their relations with Mediterranean countries, Europeans have employed an approach that was to be complementary to the Middle East peace process and aimed at providing an environment conducive to a durable peace, rather than offering instruments for directly dealing with dispute. However, Euro-Med relations started to falter when peace negotiations ground to a halt, particularly because Arab states did not favour to engage in cooperation that could be comprehended as normalizing their relations with Israel as long as the latter did not end the occupation of lands conquered in 1967 and didn’t agree to a just solution of the refugee issue. None of the latest policy additions, such as the ENP or the Mediterranean Union, presents any instruments for conflict resolution or conflict management.
Finally, what over the last fifteen years has proven to be the main stumbling block to develop Euro-Med relations and to confidence building and regional integration the Arab’Israeli dispute is bound to remain a major impediment to closer cooperation, particularly in the Mashreq.

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