Studying the Mediterranean means, above all, studying the complexity of the multitude of interrelations that exist in the region. The relations between the two shores and between the many countries, cultures, religions, economies and societies form an intricate network of interdependencies. The IEMed’s Mediterranean Yearbook seeks, with each new edition, to shed light on these issues and to enhance the visibility of the interrelations between Europe and its Mediterranean neighbours.
The traditional Euro-Mediterranean complexity has been compounded in recent months by a series of foreseeable yet unexpected upheavals that have given rise to an atmosphere of both uncertainty and hope. The uprisings and protests in the Arab countries and their ensuing consequences (ranging from reform to civil war) have dictated the Mediterranean agenda over the last few months. They have likewise set the agenda for the IEMed’s Mediterranean Yearbook: as a result of the events, the key topics addressed in this year’s edition were revised, not only to include a separate section to address them but also because of their considerable impact on the other articles. Thus, the chapter devoted to the new lay of the land in the Arab world contains both articles about these events in the Arab world as a whole and articles on Tunisia and Egypt, the most paradigmatic countries in the context of the protests.
Whilst these events certainly dominated the media, this year’s Keys to the Mediterraneango beyond the Arab uprisings. The punishing global economic crisis has taken a particularly heavy toll on the Mediterranean countries, and even more so on the Northern Mediterranean ones, and was thus something that the Yearbook could hardly ignore. The repercussions of the bailouts of Greece and Portugal and the current woes of Spain and Italy have been a constant focus of attention in recent months.
The new European institutional architecture resulting from the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon and its impact on Euro-Mediterranean relations, along with the future of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), are other key issues addressed in this edition. Although they have garnered less attention in the media, they are nevertheless crucial to determining region’s future.
Finally, one must not forget the situation in the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict, which always plays a prominent role in international events. This year’s Yearbook takes a look at US attempts to renew the negotiations and how they are affected by the domestic situations of Israelis and Palestinians.
The Yearbook’s thematic dossier this year focuses on the reality of the new Mediterranean in a world in flux. Intended as a reflection on the new international context resulting from the emergence of new actors in the Mediterranean and the forging of a stronger structure for the UfM, the Dossier could not help but address current events, incorporating the issue of the uprisings into its analysis. Indeed, this context served as its frame of reference, with analyses ranging from the role of the Mediterranean in global geopolitics or the role of Euro-Mediterranean relations in a changing world to the influence of the Gulf and BRIC countries or the role that the Balkans may play in the international construction of the Mediterranean. It moreover explores the economic evolution of the Southern Mediterranean and the efforts to democratise and reform the Arab world in light of recent events.
As in every edition, the articles in the Panorama section supplement and round out the overview of the Mediterranean year, offering a window onto the most important events to take place in the Mediterranean region. This section reflects the Yearbook’s desire not to leave any thematic area untouched and contains a broad selection of articles covering everything from politics to business, migration to security, energy to desertification, and demographics to freedom of expression, offering the political, economic, social and cultural keys to the Mediterranean agenda.
The Yearbook concludes with an extensive section of appendices that complement the opinion pieces and analyses with a wealth of statistical data and information on development cooperation and migratory movements, as well as chronologies of the main events in the region and a selection of maps.
The IEMed’s Mediterranean Yearbook Med.2011, the Yearbook’seight edition, continues to embody the working model chosen by the IEMed to provide a tool both for stakeholders and experts and for the interested public at large to gather information on, analyse and monitor the Mediterranean reality. It is a model based on diversity, both thematically and with regard to perspectives, bringing together more than fifty authors from a variety of fields and backgrounds to ensure that the Yearbook is an open, plural and multidisciplinary product.