Security Challenges in the Euro-Med Area in
the 21st Century: Mare Nostrum
(Routledge Advances in European Politics)
by Stephen C. Calleya
Routledge, an imprint of Taylor & Francis Books (2012)
The empirical analysis of security challenges in the Euro-Mediterranean area in Chapter One distinguishes between short, medium and long-term threats. This includes highlighting political, military, economic, societal and environmental security challenges that are already serving as a source of instability in the region.
Chapter Two provides insight on the main Euro-Mediterranean security challenges. A cursory glance reveals that the list of threats and risks is a daunting one. The plethora of the security challenges associated with the North-South debate includes illegal migration, terrorism, religious intolerance and the lack of human rights. In addition inter-state conflicts, failed states, energy security, and climate change are all sources of instability in the Mediterranean.
Numerous regional security initiatives have been launched during the past two decades to try and arrest the negative impact that instability of one type or another has on relations across the Mediterranean. Chapter Three provides an evaluation of the main security initiatives that have been launched with the specific aim of shedding light on what improvements are required if improving the effectiveness of such regional arrangements is to be achieved.
The main factor that should move European and Mediterranean states closer together in future are the mutual security interests they share: common Euro-Mediterranean political, economic and cultural interests must form the basis of any eventual security framework if stability is to be secured in future.
Chapter Three highlights the main stakeholders within todayís debate on the future of Euro-Mediterranean relations and focus on their main security interests in this region. Thus the notion of security challenge also includes a policy analysis of the main actors in the Mediterranean, including NATO, the United States, and the European Union.
This Chapter also focuses on the main strategic visions and political undertakings that have been proposed to foster closer co-operative relationships within and across the Euro-Mediterranean area. This includes examining the trans-Mediterranean security initiatives that dominate Euro-Mediterranean relations, including the West Mediterranean Forum (5 + 5 grouping), the Mediterranean Forum, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the EU Neighbourhood Policy and the initiative that former French President Nicolas Sarkozy launched in July 2008, namely the Union for the Mediterranean.
Chapter Four provides a forecast of geo-strategic scenarios that are most likely to develop in the region and indicate the key factors that are likely to influence different trends in future relationships.
This Chapter also puts forward policy recommendations with a specific focus on the important role that great powers and international organizations can play when it comes to influencing positively future Euro-Mediterranean relations.
Given the indivisibility of security in Europe and the Mediterranean, the EU must continue to adopt a more proactive stance when it comes to influencing and managing the international relations of the Mediterranean area.
Geographical proximity and stability in the Mediterranean dictates that the EU needs to try and influence regional dynamics in the Middle East more systematically than it has been in recent years. Failure to do so will continue to stifle attempts to strengthen Euro-Mediterranean relations through the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership agenda that now also encompasses the Union for the Mediterranean agenda and will also have a negative impact on the EUís Neighbourhood Policy agenda that is currently being implemented.
All extra regional actors, with an interest in ensuring that future Euro-Mediterranean relations remain peaceful and more prosperous, including the United States must act to ensure that the Middle East is not left to collapse as a result of an attitude of indifference. International organizations must guard against adopting an attitude of indifference when it comes to securing a peaceful future for this region. The outcome of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other regional conflicts across the Middle East will have a major bearing on the future direction of twenty-first century international relations, including of course, those of the Mediterranean. One cannot over emphasise the strategic significance of this region when providing an assessment of countering sources of insecurity in post cold war relations.
When it comes to identifying a way forward to enhancing regional cooperation in the Mediterranean both the European Union and the Arab world need to conduct a critical reassessment of regional cooperation. Regional cooperation is not an aim in itself. It has to be pursued with a clear strategy, clearly defined objectives and instruments to advance long-term objectives, and a clear sense of priorities. What sort of regional cooperation makes sense? Where is there a chance of advancing?
A road map that stipulates short, medium, and long-term phases of region-building is necessary if progress is to be registered in establishing a Euro-Mediterranean community of values. All international institutions with a Mediterranean dimension should provide their think tank platform to map out such a strategy so that a Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) of diverse states becomes a reality in future.
As the second decade of the new millennium commences, the Mediterranean must avoid becoming a permanent fault-line between the prosperous North and an impoverished South. The key development to watch in the emerging Mediterranean in the next decade will be to see whether the phase of cooperation between Europe and the Arab world that has dominated post-Cold War relations to date is consolidated by tangible measures to enhance political reform that is underway as a result of the Arab Spring of 2011. If such an opportunity is not grasped, political paralysis coupled by economic stagnation could lead to a scenario where a clash of cultures takes hold and disorder dominates Mediterranean relations. Such a scenario of instability and uncertainty will stifle the economic growth and political stability that is necessary to improve the standard of living of all peoples across the Mediterranean.
The only way this future can be avoided is if the European Union's external policy towards the Mediterranean succeeds in attracting the interest of international institutions such as the World Bank, OECD, and the IMF and persuades them to become more altruistic in their dealings with the region. The Mediterranean countries themselves must also adopt more of a self-help mentality. Rather than undermine or diminish the significance of the EU in the Mediterranean, the growing socio-economic disparities across the Mediterranean underlines further the significance of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership agenda as outlined in the Barcelona Declaration of November 1995, the only multilateral process of its kind in the area.
The more recent complementary Union for the Mediterranean agenda and European Neighbourhood Policy Review of 2011 must aim at reviving and recalibrating the Euro-Med Partnership by building on the political and security perspective enshrined in the Barcelona Declaration. The ENP Review offers an opportunity to spur the resurgence of sub regionalism Ė intensify sub regionalism and bilateral interplay in the Mediterranean. It also offers the chance to map out a more action oriented and more target focused agenda during the second decade of the new millennium. The ENP Review towards the Mediterranean will only succeed if matched by leadership and political will that succeeds in engaging all European Union and Mediterranean states to work together to address the long list of security challenges across the Mediterranean area.
Even the historic developments that have taken place in the Maghreb and Mashreq in 2011 have not yet triggered the launching of policy mechanisms that would create a more conducive landscape within which a pan-Mediterranean security arrangement could take shape. A serious international effort to support political and economic reform across the southern shore of the Mediterranean would require the equivalent to the launching of a Marshall Plan type mechanism for the Mediterranean that consistently and continuously supported reform and sought to integrate this grouping of states into the system of developed states.
A Marshall Plan for the Mediterranean would send a strong signal that the international community is serious about helping southern Mediterranean states improve their political and economic outlook. Providing the necessary massive foreign direct investment and supporting the establishment of institutions that will guarantee the rule of law and the safeguarding of human rights will serve as stepping stones towards the creation of a more interconnected Mediterranean political and economic region. Up to September 2011 no action taken by any international actor has adopted such a modality of action. Instead, efforts adopted have largely focused on managing the transition taking place and containing any sources of instability such as the flow of displaced persons.
Does this mean that it is impossible to develop a common Mediterranean order that may serve as a precursor to a Mediterranean security region? Is it possible to identify enough common interests to compromise on existing actual and perceptual differences? Or is the developing pattern of transnational, intergovernmental, and institutional links at least capable of creating enough co-operation to limit conflicts across the Mediterranean divide?
In the absence of any strong movement towards regionalism among the economies of the Europe and the Middle East regions, it seems sensible to examine the patterns of relations within the context of three sub regions bordering the Mediterranean, that is, Southern Europe, the Mashreq and the Maghreb, and then attempt to identify any trends towards a common security framework in the area.
The Arab uprisings of 2011 highlight that no programme will be sustainable in the long-term unless it is based on consensus, legitimacy and pays attention to the limits of tolerance of society. Policymakers need to pay more attention to what people want and what is preventing them from obtaining their goals. It is not really a question of time limits but which policies are required to achieve the goals being sought. A gradualist approach is perhaps a better option as it will allow reasonable time for society to be able to adapt and cope with the changes that are being proposed and introduced. It is crucial for policy-makers to create win-win situations where all sectors of society are able to benefit.
Almost two decades have passed since the signing of the Barcelona Declaration in November 1995, when the Foreign Ministers of the EU and their counterparts from twelve Mediterranean countries pledged to progressively establish a Euro-Mediterranean area of peace, stability and prosperity at the horizon of 2020.
Since then, profoundly asymmetrical developments in the EU and the Mediterranean have taken place: an EU frantically struggling to keep up with the constraints of globalisation, a Mediterranean falling further behind.
In recent years the EU has been moving into new areas. It has undertaken three major constitutional reforms, the Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon Treaties. It has successfully introduced a common currency, the Euro. It has virtually completed its single market for goods, services, capital and people. It has started to develop a common security machinery. The EU has also made great strides towards a common area of law and security and it has set itself the objective to become a knowledge society and a common area of research and science by 2020.
The European Union has also proceeded with its 6th enlargement in 2007. The accession of twelve new member states since 2004 has resulted in a fundamental transformation process of the EU at an economic, social and political level of operation.
During the same period, most of the EU`s Mediterranean partner countries have moved ahead very slowly. The prosperity gap with Europe, especially Central European countries, has further widened. It would have widened even further without the positive fluctuations in the price of oil from time to time and a significant slowdown of demographic growth.
Integrating the Mediterranean into the twenty-first century international system through forward looking mechanisms that embrace the strategic objectives outlined in the Barcelona Declaration of November 1995 and a sustainable Middle East Peace Process is the immediate challenge that the international community must confront. Otherwise transnational sources of instability emanating from the Mediterranean will continue to manifest themselves at a regional and international level and the perceptual and prosperity gap between the southern and northern shores of the Mediterranean will further widen.
The concept of regionalism in international relations denotes an intensity in the pattern of relations between states that are geographically proximate to one another. Such a pattern of interaction can take place at different levels including the political, economic or cultural level.
In the Mediterranean such patterns of interaction have largely taken place at a sub-regional level, that is, not across the Mediterranean basin but in different pockets of this geographical space. Thus while an increase in the intensity of interaction has been evident in southern Europe, the Balkans, the Maghreb and the Mashreq, there has been no major tend towards an intensity of interaction between the sub regions of the Mediterranean.
Before closing the gap between the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean can be successfully implemented there is thus a necessity to build and nurture both a mental conceptual blueprint and physical infrastructure of regionalism in the Mediterranean. In other words, the peoples of the Mediterranean need to believe that they share more than a common history, but that they also share a common destiny, be it at a political, economic or cultural level of analysis. To date, this is not the case.
A dynamic Euro-Mediterranean region would be one where the necessary political will is invested by all countries in the basin and those extra-regional actors with an interest in the Mediterranean. The goal would be to create a more interactive political, economic and cultural unitary framework that connects Europe to the Middle East and Africa and the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean in a more systematic and regulated manner.
In a globalized world a common regional platform that ensures stability is essential if the Mediterranean is to continue to prosper. The Euro-Med Partnership and Union for the Mediterranean follow up should be regarded as vehicles of regional promotion that are seeking to enhance political and economic relations between the countries across the basin.
If more attention towards the Mediterranean is to be forthcoming it is crucial that more awareness is raised about the reality that there can be no security and stability in Europe if there is no security and stability along the southern shores of the Mediterranean. If the European Union cannot successfully project policies of stability in its immediate neighbourhood across the Mediterranean, its more ambitious goal of becoming a global source of stability will remain a fallacy.
European Union policy towards the Mediterranean must thus be seen as a litmus test of the European Unionís objective of assisting in the improvement of livelihoods in states that border its own member states. Moreover, the Euro-Mediterranean track record will also have a major bearing on the extent to which the European Union is able to influence positively development in Africa and the Middle East.
Parallel to the UfM economic targets it is also therefore essential to re-visit the headline goal of the Barcelona Process to establish a common security agenda and mechanism for the Mediterranean. More than a decade has passed since the Guidelines for a Security Charter was published at the Euro-Med foreign ministerial meeting in Stuttgart in April 1999. A reassessment of these Guidelines is necessary.
Economic development as envisaged by the Union for the Mediterranean will only take place if investors believe they are committing themselves to a strategic environment where the rule of law and security are guaranteed. The re-launching of a political dialogue that seeks to build a common security platform to address the long list of security risks and threats including terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, drug trafficking, organised crime, and environmental degradation, will create a more conducive strategic context within which UfM goals can be pursued and achieved.