Research and Assessment on Euro-Mediterranean Relations
Senén Florensa, President of the Executive Committee, European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed)
The European Union Neighbourhood, both the east and the south, is going through the biggest transformations in decades. New economic, political, financial and social dynam- ics are taking place, deeply altering the status quo and redefining the relations between each of the neighbouring countries and the European Union. These changes are taking place simultaneously at a regional, national and sub-regional level, thus adding complex- ity and volatility to the processes and the outcomes. In such a historical context, the need to acquire deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the causes and the processes is more acute that ever.
The European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) has among its objectives the pro- motion of value-added knowledge and the improvement of the stakeholder’s awareness of the dynamics taking place in the Mediterranean. As a member of the SEARCH Proj- ect, and with this clear interest of better understanding the Southern Neighbourhood and its interactions with the EU, the IEMed has compiled in this document several of the most significant papers prepared throughout the project with a focus on Mediterranean dynamics.
The development of the Search Project (Sharing KnowledgE Assets: InteRregionally Co- hesive NeigHborhoods) has two main objectives: the first is to analyse the main features of these multifaceted dynamics through multidisciplinary networking, and collect relevant data needed for the comprehensive understanding of the changes; the second objec- tive, and based on this analysis, is to prepare policy inceptions induced by the scientific findings in order to suggest policy proposals that could improve relations between the EU institutions and Member States and the neighbouring countries.
The stakeholders and decision-makers who manage today’s changing scenario need access to updated information, facts, data and ideas that can inspire new, creative and value-added policies in the main fields that make up the complex relations between the EU and its southern neighbours. To achieve this aim, the SEARCH Project has advanced in the understanding of the patterns of economic interaction between the EU and its neighbouring countries, thus projecting future trends and identifying potential effects of higher levels of economic integration.
Trade flows between the EU and neighbouring economies, a key element of their in- teraction, have been studied along with the factors that determine investment loca- tion choices. The result of this research should help to better understand the logics of decision-making from the private sector and inspire policies that can improve the international attractiveness of some of the neighbouring regions. SEARCH has also explored how neighbouring economies interact with the EU in the field of innovation, a domain that is increasing its relevance in the cooperation schemes to be established between the EU and its southern neighbours.
As labour migration is a consolidated and growing trend in EU relations with its south- ern neighbours, SEARCH has studied its economic and social consequences, both for the EU destination regions as well as for the neighbouring regions. The analysis of the resulting migration flows, remittances and human capital formation have also been key elements in the project. The qualitative dissemination of all these findings, together with the resulting specific policy proposals among national and international decision-makers, academic environ- ments and civil society at large is at the core of both the SEARCH Project and the IEMed.
This compilation document serves this purpose with the clear objective of in- spiring ideas and policies among the stakeholders but also encouraging civil society to strengthen relations at all levels among European Union societies and institutions and its southern counterparts.