Mediterranean Free Trade Agreement

1The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EEM), now known as the Union for the Mediterranean (UpM), is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. Following the geopolitical turmoil of the fall of the Iron Curtain, the EMP was created in 1995 to improve relations between the European Union (EU) and the Mediterranean third countries (MNCs). [1] It consists of three baskets: a political and security partnership, an economic and financial partnership and a partnership in social, human and cultural affairs. The overall objective of the economic and financial partnership is to create an “area of shared prosperity” by “stimulating the socio-economic development of MNCs, improving the living conditions of the inhabitants of the Mediterranean region and integrating and collaborating at the regional level.” To this end, both the EU and the Mediterranean partners have agreed to create a comprehensive and comprehensive Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area (CEMTA) by 2010. [2] The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), created in 2003, goes even further and aims to “involve neighbouring countries in the single market”. [3] Despite these intentions, the ambitious target of an EMFTA will not be achieved this year due to various obstacles on both the EU and EU sides. MNCs[4] In this regard, this article has two main objectives. First, an overview of the initiatives taken so far for the implementation of an CEMTA will be reviewed and compared to the objectives set in 1995 in the next section. Given that CEMTA initiatives are significantly delayed, the second objective of this article is to analyze the underlying reasons for this delay. In particular, we will focus on the political determinants of the lack of progress, in addition to the already rich literature on economic causes. In paragraph 3.1, we will address the difficulties on the European side and highlight the discussions on CEMTA between the European Member States and between the European Commission, the Council and Parliament.

Next, this article examines the relationship between the EU and the MNCs in point 3.2, while in section 3.3, we explain the political problems between the MNCs, which hinder the development of intra-regional trade in the region, as a precondition for the establishment of a full-fledged CEMTA. Finally, Section 3.4 deals with the influence of other international players in the Mediterranean basin, which promotes genuine competition between them and the EU. Finally, proposals will be presented to overcome the obstacles to a comprehensive EMFTA and to establish an inter-regional partnership. The CCFTA is having an impact on all economic sectors, including agriculture, by removing tariff and non-tariff barriers. These are “WTO” and “new generation” agreements: they go beyond the WTO (for the protection of intellectual property, the opening of public procurement, competition rules, etc.) and require harmonization of legislation (in this case the adoption of the European regulatory system). They also liberalize investments and include an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism. 20 However, our review also shows that there are workable solutions for all identified problems. Firstly, liberalisation between the EU and the NCC can be strengthened by the continuation of compromise negotiations that are economically beneficial to both the EU and to the MNCs and politically feasible.

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