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Third Euromed Conférence : Euromed Process

The partnership between the EU and the Mediterranean countries is referred to as the ‘Barcelona Process’, which aim is to set up a common Euro-Mediterranean area of peace, stability and shared prosperity.

The Barcelona Process

The Conference of EU and Mediterranean Foreign Ministers in Barcelona (27-28 November 1995) marked the start of a new "partnership" phase in the relationship between the European Union and its Mediterranean Partners, characterised by intensified bilateral and multilateral regional co-operation.

The range of activities of this new partnership is commonly referred to as the ‘Barcelona Process’. It aims at establishing a common Euro-Mediterranean area of peace, stability and shared prosperity. Furthermore, it aims at fostering South-South integration by encouraging Mediterranean partners to implement free trade among them.

Objectives of the trade related aspects of the Barcelona process

One of the major goals of the Barcelona Process is to create a Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area by 2010. All Mediterranean Partner Countries (with the exception of Syria) have now (June 2003) concluded Association Agreements with the EU. These agreements allow for the progressive elimination of tariff and non­tariff barriers to trade in manufactured products in accordance with timetables negotiated between the partners. Trade in agriculture will be progressively liberalised through reciprocal preferential access among the parties, taking into account traditional trade flows, the constraints of the various agricultural policies and developments within the GATT negotiations. Trade in services, including right of establishment, will be progressively liberalised, with due regard to the GATS agreement.

South-South regional integration

To achieve the aim of the Barcelona Declaration to create a Free Trade Area by 2010, the conclusion of bilateral Association Agreements between the EU and the Mediterranean Partners is not sufficient. In addition, Free Trade Agreements between the Mediterranean Partners themselves are required to increase levels of trade between them and maximise the region’s potential for economic growth. Consequently, the Barcelona Declaration encourages the south-south dimension and the integration of Partners’ economies.

Since 1995, several steps have been taken to deepen south-south dimension of the Barcelona. A number of Free Trade Agreements have been signed between Mediterranean countries. The most recent development is the Agadir Initiative which was launched in May 2001. This is a regional free trade agreement including Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. The agreement was initialled in January 2003 and should be finalised within the coming months

The EU has pledged to support the Agadir Process from both a financial and technical point of view. A sub-regional programme has been committed in 2003, with €4 million earmarked.

Brussels,07 07 2003
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