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Multilateralism South of the Border: The EuroMed Partnership. Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series Vol. 7 No. 1 January 2007

Boening, Astrid B. (2007) Multilateralism South of the Border: The EuroMed Partnership. Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series Vol. 7 No. 1 January 2007. [Working Paper]

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    [Introduction]. Christiansen, Petito and Tonra (2000, 401) write that while shared geographic and climatic conditions have shaped regional cultures and peoples – what the French historian Braudel has termed the common ‘material culture’ of the Mediterranean Civilization – they have failed to forge any significant degree of political or ideational collective identity [due] … to the complex and conflicting geopolitical history of the area … This duality has recently been reproduced in the …analysis of the Mediterranean in the post-Cold War era through two opposite images … the Mediterranean as a ‘sea without customs’ where continuities in social structures, customs, habits and ways of life are the constitutive ingredients of a material Mediterranean civilization. The second is an image of the Mediterranean Sea as one of the key fault lines in a ‘clash of civilisations’ (Huntington 1993 in Ibid.). Indeed the MENA region is variegated along north-south as well as in south-south orientations. No one will argue about the positive correlation between economic development and political stability (e.g. Christiansen, Petito and Tonra 2000, 404). As much discussion as has taken place on this topic – and development and research funds spent – the yawning gap in income between developed and developing countries has worsened in the past three decades despite a booming world economy (Ocampo 2006). The Middle East and North African countries (“MENA”,1), also referred to in this article as Magreb and Mashrig, are one area in the European “neighborhood” with traditional historical cultural ties to Europe as well as of continuing strategic significance. Approaching MENA from the geo-political perspective of Iraq today, the instability in the latter will likely spread to the Middle East in the foreseeable future. It can be expected to cause problems especially in countries with divided societies, such as Lebanon, where Islam will fill the political and intellectual vacuum (Haass in Spiegel Online 11/13/2996). From an economic perspective, balancing the widening income gap among developing countries in addition to the overall international income inequalities, requires the more developed EuroMed partners to focus socio-economically and politically on MENA more urgent today than ever. Howard Zinn (2005) argues that war is not a successful approach to defeat terrorism by religious extremists, which is currently taking place in predominantly Muslim countries and spreading other regions outside of MENA, Iraq and Iran. Against the observed past instabilities and the prospect of an increase in terrorism in the Magreb and the Mashriq and its spill-over to neighboring countries and beyond, I will examine the role of the EuroMed Partnership (EMP) between the countries bordering the Mediterranean for its potential to contribute to regional stabilization and development to fill this political void and regional demarcations addressed by Richard Haass (2006), president of the Council on Foreign Relations. Or in Christiansen, Petito and Tonra (2000) terminology, forging the role of the EMP in a political and ideational collective identity rather than allow the countries bordering the Mediterranean to develop fault lines among them.

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    Item Type: Working Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-North Africa/Maghreb
    EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-Middle East
    EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-Islam
    EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-Mediterranean/Union for the Mediterranean
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > University of Miami, Florida-EU Center of Excellence > Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2008
    Page Range: p. 19
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:52

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