The Mediterranean area presents a particular structure. The Northern part of the region is composed of Western, developed countries belonging to the European Union, such as France, Spain, Italy and Greece. The Southern part is the African coast, including Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Syria and the Palestinian Authority. The basin has often been idealized as a place of unity and coherence, the two coasts being linked by a long past of cooperation, trade and cultural exchanges. However, the North and the South have evolved differently, and this is obvious today that there is no unity in the region. To the contrary, every Southern country of the area has been colonized by Northern countries during the 19th and 20th centuries, most of them belonging to the Northern Mediterranean (France, Portugal and Spain). After the fall of the Empires and the decolonization process, those Western countries, for moral but also commercial reasons, have developed particular relations with their ex-colonies.
[...] The Barcelona Declaration written for the occasion declares that the nine South-Mediterranean countries belonging to the EMP have to sign clauses for commitment to democratic reforms, with an emphasis on the principal of political pluralism. However, the Declaration presents extensive timetables on economic liberalization reforms, but it doesn't give precise explanations of what are the changes to undertake in order to achieve political liberalization (Youngs, 2002). For example, the Declaration just says that the Nations have to “develop the rule of law and democracy in their political systems”, but it doesn't list the fundamental freedoms that have to be protected by them. [...]
[...] The democratization was seen as a means of tempering tensions inside North African and Middle Eastern states; engendering moderation between the different states within the region; and mitigating antagonism between the Mediterranean and Western Europe. Following the European strategy, a too strong demand for democratization would indeed require the demolition of authoritarian regimes such as the Algerian one, which would lead to ‘short-term' conflicts, and to a radicalization of the population that would turn to Islamist leaders to represent their discontentment. [...]
[...] Moreover, each European country has its own relationship with Southern states, and it often undermines the achievement of a common policy. As the EU's foreign policy decision process is still limited by the principle of unanimity, the member states can still use their veto right for any proposition, as it has been the case with Greece refusing to vote the financial aid to Turkey, as the Cyprus conflict opposed the two states. The difficulty of the Union to speak with one voice undermines the economic and political cooperation within the partnership. [...]
[...] This leads to an unequal, incomplete and inefficient partnership subjected to the European willingness to be more involved in the cooperation. I will look at three major issues that illustrate the inefficiency of the partnership, and highlight the different reasons why the EU doesn't get involved in its Mediterranean policies. The issue of the promotion of democracy is central, because it shows how the EU has tried to stabilize the region in order to protect its interests first, instead of being deeply involved in democratizing the countries. [...]
[...] Regarding Bradford Dillman's theory, the EU hasn't taken into account the role of the elites, which have benefited from the market opening by controlling the inflows of international resources during the structural changes. For example, they have been able to block the policies aimed at eliminating market distortions, thus conserving the misallocation of resources. Then, the middle and low classes haven't necessarily known the improvement of living condition that was predicted. The incapacity of the EU to estimate the role of existing political and economical elites can be explained by the lack of global interest of the member states towards the Mediterranean. [...]
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