World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

Barcelona, July 19th - 24th 2010


Region-building Dynamics in the Euro-Mediterranean Space (294) - NOT_DEFINED activity_field_Panel

· NOT_DEFINED date: THU 22, 9.00-11.00 am

· NOT_DEFINED institution: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals (Spain)

· NOT_DEFINED organizer: Esther Barbé

· NOT_DEFINED language: English

· NOT_DEFINED description: The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership was devised as a novel and ambitious attempt to construct a Euro-Mediterranean region through the purposeful promotion of economic, political, social and cultural interaction. However, this emphasis on a regional and holistic approach has been losing ground and differentiation dynamics have increasingly been the order of the day in EU’s relations with Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Countries. The contributions to this panel take stock of these developments and diagnose what kind of differentiation processes are taking place in the Euro-Mediterranean area and whether they contribute to foster convergence or fragmentation in the region. Through sector-specific in-depth analyses –covering environment, civil protection, energy, democracy and human rights, and security and defence– the papers of this panel specifically investigate the following questions: Are there significant differentiation dynamics taking place in the specific issue area considered? By whom are these triggered and for what purpose? Do differentiation mechanisms contribute to policy convergence, at least in particular domains and/or with certain countries? What do the dynamics of differentiation and patterns of convergence imply in terms of broader region-building efforts?

Chair: Prof. Esther Barbé (Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals/Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

Discussants: Dr. Tobias Schumacher (Lisbon University Institute) and Dr. Gonzalo Escribano (UNED, Spanish Open University)

Paper Presenters: Esther Barbé & Anna Herranz (Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals), “Dynamics of convergence and differentiation in Euro-Mediterranean relations: Towards flexible region building or fragmentation?”

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) was conceived as a regional endeavour to promote approximation in a wide number of policy domains. However, despite this holistic and geographically encompassing approach, differentiation dynamics have been the order of the day in EU relations with the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Countries (SEMC). This article contributes to theoretical and practical debates on whether differentiation processes aid or hinder policy convergence processes and region-building efforts more widely. It does so by conceptualising the various types of differentiation dynamics in Euro-Mediterranean relations and discussing how they are linked to different paths and degrees of regionalisation

Paper Presenter: Oriol Costa (Autonomous University of Barcelona), “Convergence on the fringe: The environmental dimension of Euro-Mediterranean co-operation”

This article examines environmental policy convergence in the Mediterranean from three different perspectives. First, it describes the main features of this convergence. Namely, that convergence is more about principles and approaches than about environmental quality standards, and that it is undifferentiated in sectoral and geographical terms, but there is scope for normative differentiation. Secondly, the article explores the strategies available to promote convergence. Actors in charge of environmental Euro-Mediterranean co-operation cannot resort to conditionality, and thus have developed two alternative strategies, functional co-operation and international legitimation. Finally, the article reviews the results delivered by these strategies.

Paper Presenter: Niklas Bremberg (Dept. of Political Science, Stockholm University, Sweden), “Security, governance and community beyond the European Union: Exploring issue-level dynamics in Euro-Mediterranean civil protection”

EU civil protection captures important aspects of the changing security landscape of post-Cold War Europe and the role that the EU now plays in providing safety and security to citizens and societal functions inside and outside the Union. Since the mid-1990s the EU has also promoted regional cooperation on civil protection in the Euro-Mediterranean area. This article aims to explore the issue-level dynamics of Euro-Med civil protection in order to address the main themes of this volume, policy convergence, differentiation and region building. The main conclusion is that the strong operational component in Euro-Med civil protection has fostered the build-up of a transgovernmental network, around the Mediterranean which might serve the goal of partnership and even community building in the Euro-Mediterranean area.

Paper Presenter: Vera Van Hüllen (Center for European Integration of the Otto-Suhr-Institute of Political Science, Freie Universität Berlin), “More than cheap talk: Euro-Mediterranean region-building through cooperation on human rights and democracy”
Despite the EU’s democracy promotion efforts and a joint commitment to democracy and human rights in the EMP, there are no signs of convergence towards the liberal democratic model advocated by the EU. However, the scope and intensity of multilateral, transnational, and bilateral cooperation has steadily increased across the region since the mid 1990s. Still, the sensitivity of the issues at stake is reflected in sectoral differentiation, privileging less controversial human rights over matters directly challenging authoritarian regimes. While ‘polity convergence’ seems unlikely in the short or medium term, democracy and human rights are firmly established on the joint regional agenda and cooperation contributes to value-based region-building.

Paper presenter: Eduard Soler i Lecha (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs), “Converging, diverging and instrumentalising European Security and Defence Policy in the Mediterranean”

This article addresses the degree of convergence, divergence and in some cases indifference of Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Countries (SEMC) towards the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). Focusing on two cases, Morocco and Turkey, but also referring to other Mediterranean partners, this contribution analyses the dynamics of this specific issue-area, arguing that policy convergence in the field of security and defence has reflected process-oriented goals rather than a substantive convergence of strategic interests. The article concludes exploring how the EU’s differentiated geographical approach in security and defence cooperation in the Mediterranean, impacts on the broader region-building endeavour.