This article analyses the results of the Survey in order to provide an interpretation of the main future prospects of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) and formulate policy recommendations. To this end, we will examine the results of Questions 22 and 23, focusing, respectively, on Euro-Mediterranean cooperation and the possible future scenarios of the Mediterranean. Question 22 enables us to analyse the perception of a large number of experts of the degree of probability they attribute to the prospect that current Euro-Mediterranean cooperation will lead, in the long term, to the fulfilment of some of the most important scenarios for the region. Question 23 assesses the probabilities that a number of scenarios in the medium and long term will materialise in the Euro-Mediterranean area. Moreover, we will conduct a comparative analysis which will allow us to study the trends experienced in the period 2009-2012 in the categories analysed. For both questions, we will compare the results of the 2009 and 2012 Surveys.
Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation: Where to?
In general terms, the assessment of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation by respondents is moderately positive. All categories analysed are more positively assessed in 2012 than in 2009 (see Graph 1), which means that at present there is a generalised perception that the tools of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation are of some use. This is mainly so in terms of social and cultural cooperation and promotion of democracy and human rights and, to a lesser extent, in terms of economic cooperation and resolution of conflicts, as we will stress throughout the analysis.
The scenarios with best results are those related to human exchanges between North and South and understanding and respect between cultures and religions, which means that the EMP social and cultural pillar is the most positively assessed. These are followed by strengthening of democracy and respect for human rights, linked to the EMP political and security pillar, and achieving higher levels of employment and living conditions and reduction of the development gap between the North and South, scenarios which are related to the field of EMP economic cooperation.
Graph 1: Degree of probability attributed to the prospect that current Euro-Mediterranean cooperation (within the frameworks of the EMP, ENP and UfM) is leading, in the long term, to: (average on a scale of 0-10, where 0 stands for no probability and 10 for very high probability)
Moreover, it is important to underline two major trend changes between 2009 and 2012. In the first place, the North-South analysis in terms of confidence in Euro-Mediterranean cooperation shows that in 2009 southern Mediterranean countries were the most pessimistic while in 2012 they are the most optimistic about Euro-Mediterranean cooperation being able to contribute to achieving the scenarios proposed. In the second place, the sub-regional analysis enables us to see that the Maghreb is the Mediterranean area with most confidence in Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, although in 2009 it was the most sceptical area in this respect.
One of the central elements that can explain these trend changes is the new political context resulting from the Arab democratic revolutions, which has meant a step forward in establishing the conditions necessary for the triumph of the principles and values of the Euro-Mediterranean Policy, as included in the Barcelona Declaration. These principles and values have now found the necessary conditions for their implementation thanks to the Arab Springs.
Political and Security Cooperation
Firstly, “the resolution of conflicts”, the central element to achieve the EMP objective of establishing an area of peace and stability in the Mediterranean, is seen by respondents as the main pending issue in Euro-Mediterranean cooperation. It is the only scenario that has been assessed, both in 2009 and 2012, with grades lower than 5 (see Graph 2).
Graph 2: Degree of probability attributed to the prospect that current Euro-Mediterranean cooperation is leading, in the long term, to: The resolution of conflicts in the region (average on a scale of 0-10, where 0 stands for no probability and 10 for very high probability)
Secondly, we analyse the responses on Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in terms of “the strengthening of democracy and human rights”. Of all the scenarios put forward, this one has experienced most growth in terms of probability in the period 2009-2012 (see Graph 3). Despite the improvements, the results could still be better. According to Aliboni, one of the main elements that explain this is the lack of any kind of conditionality linked to the degree of democratisation of the Arab countries. Positive conditionality has been applied with little efficiency given that the rewards have been considered a consequence of the EMP implementation. In terms of negative conditionality, this has not been applied to the EMP Arab partners partly because southern European governments have shown themselves to be more concerned than their northern neighbours about the impact of emerging religious radicalism on their security. For decades, western countries have considered radical Islamist governments to be more negative for the West than the existing authoritarian governments.
Graph 3: Degree of probability attributed to the prospect that current Euro-Mediterranean cooperation is leading, in the long term, to: The strengthening of democracy and respect for human rights in the Mediterranean Partner Countries (average on a scale of 0-10, where 0 stands for no probability and 10 for very high probability)
In the first scenario analysed by the Survey in relation to economic cooperation, respondents are asked about the degree of probability that Euro-Mediterranean cooperation is leading to “a higher level of employment, an improvement in living conditions and a reduction of poverty”. The results of this scenario are better in 2012 than in 2009 (see Graph 4). It is especially significant that this scenario follows the general trend according to which southern Mediterranean countries are the most optimistic, above all because these categories have a direct effect on people’s daily lives, such as employment or poverty, whose indicators have not experienced major advances in the period 2009-2012, as shown by the Human Development Reports of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). According to these results, southern Mediterranean countries have more confidence in Euro-Mediterranean cooperation being able to contribute to improving the standard of living in the region than northern Mediterranean countries. Moreover, Mediterranean EU countries have an average grade higher than the European Union as a whole. This is explained, in overall terms, by the fact that there is greater commitment to the Barcelona Process in southern than northern European countries despite the support that the latter gave to the EMP in its origins.
Graph 4: Degree of probability attributed to the prospect that current Euro-Mediterranean cooperation is leading, in the long term, to: A higher level of employment, an improvement in living conditions and a reduction of poverty in Mediterranean Partner Countries (average on a scale of 0-10, where 0 stands for no probability and 10 for very high probability)
The second scenario related to economic cooperation studies the probability of Euro- Mediterranean cooperation contributing to “a reduction of the development gap between the North and South of the Mediterranean”. The confidence increases moderately from 2009 to 2012. This slight improvement means that the assessment of all regions, except Israel and Turkey, exceeds the average grade of 5 (see Graph 5). One of the reasons that explain this is the continuing insufficient economic convergence in the region.
Indeed, the Mediterranean has emerged as one of the most important lines of economic division in the world, where income per capita in the North is 10 times that of the South and has reduced little in the last 15 years. In Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), the difference has barely reduced since 1995 between the eurozone and the MPCs. So much so that, according to Iván Martín, at this rate of convergence Morocco would need 241 years to achieve 50% of the GDP per capita in PPP in the eurozone while Tunisia is more likely to achieve the economic convergence, over 62 years. This data suggests a scenario of generalised pessimism in relation to the possibilities of reducing the North-South development gap. However, the results of our study indicate progress in the confidence in the gap being overcome with the help of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, especially because southern countries see the reduction of this breach as most likely.
Graph 5: Degree of probability attributed to the prospect that current Euro-Mediterranean cooperation is leading, in the long term, to: A reduction of the development gap between the North and the South of the Mediterranean (average on a scale of 0-10, where 0 stands for no probability and 10 for very high probability)
Social and Cultural Cooperation
The first scenario analysed in relation to Euro-Mediterranean cultural cooperation focuses on “a greater intensity of human exchanges between the North and South of the Mediterranean”. In relation to this scenario, we can speak of consolidation because in both 2009 and 2012 it occupies the second position among all the scenarios proposed (see Graph 6).
Graph 6: Degree of probability attributed to the prospect that current Euro-Mediterranean cooperation is leading, in the long term, to: A greater intensity of human exchanges between the North and the South of the Mediterranean (average on a scale of 0-10, where 0 stands for no probability and 10 for very high probability)
The second scenario related to cultural cooperation assesses the possibilities for Euro- Mediterranean cooperation to contribute, according to the experts, to achieving “a greater understanding and respect between cultures and religions in the Mediterranean”. It is the scenario most positively assessed in 2009 and 2012 with a trend of moderate growth (see Graph 7). Considering the high grades in the responses from Mediterranean EU countries, the decrease in the average grade of EU countries as a whole can be explained by the low confidence of northern European countries in Euro-Mediterranean cooperation being able to decisively contribute to greater understanding between cultures and religions in the Mediterranean.
A policy recommendation to continue improving the already positive results in terms of the contributions of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation to increasing respect and understanding between religions and cultures consists, as noted by Michelle Pace, of reducing the factors that hinder international mobility. These factors, such as the applicable regulation in terms of visas, are obstacles that should be removed in the long term or, at least, reduced in the short or medium term. The measures adopted in the framework of the third pillar of the EMP should contribute to the development of open knowledge societies in the Arab countries fostering a bidirectional intercultural dialogue between the North and South of the Mediterranean.
Graph 7: Degree of probability attributed to the prospect that current Euro-Mediterranean cooperation is leading, in the long term, to: A greater understanding and respect between cultures and religions in the Mediterranean (average on a scale of 0-10, where 0 stands for no probability and 10 for very high probability)
Change and Continuity in the Main Scenarios of Euro-Mediterranean Relations
The Euro-Mediterranean region is currently experiencing major changes in the political, economic and socio-cultural fields. However, we also see determined dynamics marked by continuity. Question 23 analyses the probabilities for a set of scenarios being achieved in the Euro-Mediterranean area but does not assess the contribution of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in this respect.
Political Crisis and Conflicts
In this first section we focus on the scenarios linked to the main conflicts and political crises in the Mediterranean region.
Graph 8: Degree of probability attributed to the following mid- to long-term hypotheses in the Mediterranean (average on a scale of 0-10, where 0 stands for no probability and 10 for very high probability)
The first scenario analysed is related to the possibility that “the Arab-Israeli conflict will paralyse the EMP”. The less positive assessment (see Graph 8) can be explained because this conflict has already paralysed a large part of the EMP agenda, although one of the main goals traditionally attributed to the Barcelona Process was managing to bring together Israelis and Palestinians in the same forum.
The following scenario assesses the possibility that “popular uprisings will increase in the southern Mediterranean”. This scenario is seen as the fifth most likely. It is important to note that in the short term people’s movements will increase and will finally reach all southern Mediterranean countries. In broad terms, we can classify two groups of countries according to the political responses they offer to the popular uprisings: the first is characterised by providing a dialogued solution through institutional channels through democratic and modernising political reforms, while the second is characterised by the repression of the people’s movements, which in the medium term can bring about new uprisings and armed conflicts or the worsening of the already existing conflicts. Therefore, we can conclude that in the long term the political, economic and social modernisation will extend to the MPCs although there could be serious conflicts and setbacks in the short and medium term.
The following scenario seen by respondents as the most likely (see Graph 8) is that “water scarcity will become a source of conflicts and social tensions in the Mediterranean”. It is possible to explain the importance attached to this scenario above all if we take into account the arid climate characteristic of the Mediterranean and the consequent objective scarcity of water. Another conclusion is that the postcolonial geopolitics that emerged after the waves of decolonisation, with borders arbitrarily drawn at the European chancelleries without taking into account any logic of distribution and rational exploitation of resources, first in the Middle East (1945-1955) and later in the Maghreb (1955-1980), still prevails.
The final scenario on crisis and conflicts is based on the notion that “population and employment pressures in MPCs will intensify and create dramatic social tensions”. Although this issue continues to be seen as a problem with a tendency to grow (see Graph 8), the truth is that the demographic dynamics of the riparian countries previously marked by a high decrease in the birth rate will experience a clear evolution in the next decades. While in the early postcolonial period the average number of children per woman in the southern Mediterranean was 7, at present this is 2 children in countries such as Tunisia, as noted by the UNDP Arab Human Development Report 2009. Moreover, the forecasts indicate that this will continue to decrease even further and, therefore, the tensions resulting from the demographic and employment dynamics will notably reduce in the next few years, as fewer people reach working age.
The second block of prospects forms part of the economic development field.
In the first place, the scenario proposed is that “the current global economic and financial crisis will reduce development prospects in the Mediterranean for a long period”. This scenario is seen as the most likely in the northern rather than in the southern Mediterranean. This is due to the fact the southern Mediterranean countries have a weaker link with the financial economy and international trade, which means that they are less affected than the North by the international economic crisis.
Graph 9: Degree of probability attributed to the following mid-to long-term hypotheses in the Mediterranean (average on a scale of 0-10, where 0 stands for no probability and 10 for very high probability)
In the second place, the possibilities that “Gulf Cooperation Council countries will facilitate a higher degree of South-South economic cooperation in the Mediterranean” are examined. In contrast to what happens in Latin America, in the MENA region there is no clear conviction that the South-South cooperation will be intensified thanks to the contribution of the Persian Gulf countries (see Graph 9). The GCC geographic and sectoral spheres of action have shown in recent years a clear growth trend. However, many of the actions have a marked political rather than economic character. Moreover, the economic initiatives usually result in investments in building, hotels or the acquisition of already existing companies rather than production with the generation of employment.
In the third place, there is an analysis of whether “environmental deterioration in the Mediterranean will reach a level threatening the living conditions and economic activities of the riparian States”. The assessments show a consolidation of average grades suggesting that this scenario is likely to take place, far from the probabilities of other scenarios.
The fourth scenario of Question 23 suggests the possibility that “MPCs will sustain the increased level of economic growth achieved in the last three years and, in the long term, converge to EU levels of income”. The poor assessment (see Graph 9) can be explained if we compare it to that of the fourth category in Question 22. Both questions revolve around the probability that the development gap between North and South will reduce. However, Question 22 asks whether Euro-Mediterranean cooperation is leading to this scenario while Question 23 analyses in overall terms the probability that this scenario can take place not so much because of EMP contributions but rather because of the dynamics and processes existing in the region as a whole. Respondents consider the reduction of the North-South development gap more likely if it takes place through Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, which leads us to conclude that in the South the partnership with Europe is seen as a central element for development.
Finally, there is an analysis of whether the “free movement of goods and workers will create an area of shared prosperity and development in the Mediterranean”. The results reveal that there are moderate hopes in this respect (see Graph 9). Free movement is one of the main prospects placed on the EMP. However, despite the advances achieved in the Free Trade Area, there has been no major progress in the free movement of workers and services and only limited movement of capitals.
The following block of prospects focuses on the migration movements in the Euro-Mediterranean region. All the scenarios obtain higher probabilities in 2012 than in 2009 (see Graph 10).
The first scenario embraces one of the central issues of the North-South agenda: the issue of whether “irregular migration from originating MPCs to Europe will continue to increase whatever control mechanisms the EU may impose”. The high assessments suggest that, in order to combat irregular immigration, it is much more efficient to address its causes; i.e., the low socio-economic development of the southern Mediterranean area rather than the palliative measures based on the different border control strategies implemented by the EU through the Frontex agency.
Graph 10: Degree of probability attributed to the following mid- to long-term hypotheses in the Mediterranean (average on a scale of 0-10, where 0 stands for no probability and 10 for very high probability)
The following scenarios considers the idea that the “increased level of legal and irregular immigration will intensify social tensions and xenophobia in Europe”. The high assessments can be explained by the persistent economic and social crisis and the consequent increase of support for extreme right movements.
The following hypothesis suggests that an “increased level of migration will push for political reforms in the Mediterranean Partner Countries”. Despite the clear North-South link involved in migrations, the assessments (5.6 in 2012; no data in 2009) indicate that there are few hopes of this happening.
The last scenario establishes the possibility that “the increased level of migration, economic and human exchanges will give way to the emergence of a common Mediterranean identity”. In this case, the responses have been much more positive in Question 22, which takes into account Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in the fulfilment of this scenario, than in Question 23. In other words, the creation of a shared Mediterranean identity is seen as more probable if it is achieved with the support of the EMP.
The Role of Women in the MPCs
The assessment of the scenario suggesting whether “women will increasingly participate in the economic, social and political life of the MPCs” has worsened greatly from 2009 to 2012 (see Graph 11). This more negative assessment can be explained by the emergence of a certain feeling of disappointment by civil society after the Arab revolutions, which generated expectations that until now have not been fulfilled, largely because of the appropriation of the processes of change by Islamist governments. Again, the Maghreb is still the most optimistic.
Graph 11: Degree of probability attributed to the following potential mid- to long-term hypothesis in the Mediterranean: Women will increasingly participate in the economic, social and political life of MPCs (average on a scale of 0-10, where 0 stands for no probability and 10 for very high probability)