Think EU-MED

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


The Union for the Mediterranean -Evolution and Prospects

Roberto Aliboni’s 8-page long paper assesses the nature of the Union for the Mediterranean. The author sheds light on the various dimensions contributing to the failing of the UfM after its inception more than two years ago. The high ambitions to give new momentum to the EU's cooperation with Mediterranean countries have not yet translated into tangible achievements so far. This lack of visible results is, according to Aliboni, related to the political identity of the UfM, its relations with the acquis of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and the functioning of its institutions.

Taking these problems into account, the author lists a number of recommendations how the EU might improve the policy output of the Union:
First, institutions matter: the institutional profile of the UfM needs a revision. The Co-Presidency and the structure of the Secretariat of the UfM should be revised and the UfM must be a policy of the entire EU.
Second, multilateralism matters: Aliboni suggests to “create a parallel, but connected, multilateral dimension” within the realm of the Neighbourhood Policy.
Third, projects matter: The large-scale regional projects of the UfM should be implemented as soon as possible. Furthermore, the EU should not only boost progress in the six areas of the UfM but also include other fields, such as agriculture that is still absent in the Euro-Mediterraean relations framework.

Aliboni concludes by proposing to scale back any high ambitions at the political level, that the UfM can promote political solidarity in the short- and medium-term future.

Roberto Aliboni is Vice-President at the Istituto Affari Internazionali and head of the Institute's programme on the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

The Union for the Mediterranean Evolution and Prospects; Published: 12 February 2010