The Euro-Mediterranean Project

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1. Globalization and regionalization

 

INTRODUCTION

 

         It is Eric Hobsbawm to whom we turn when asking ourselves what, in light of recent events, is going on in the world.  For he has captured better than anyone the turbulent, often tragic activities of capitalism, in his excellent, dense work, “The Short Twentieth Century”[1] which starts with the first world war and ends with the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989.   But we also turn to Samir Amin who, as an observer of our contemporary world, relentlessly criticizes the illusions promoted by this capitalism and warns us of the latest illusions, those of “globalization” - the new era which will make a “global village” of our planet.

 

            People often used to laugh at the naïveté of socialist propaganda when it proclaimed the “radiant dawn” of the future.   But they forget that this belief in “progress”,  typical of modern times, lies also at the heart of the capitalist adventure.   It has often been belied by history but it is constantly renewed by tame intellectuals whose job it is to announce the glorious future to those who, understandably enough, have their doubts.[2]

 

 

            We should recall the appalling era of colonization, which the conquerors presented as a modernization of traditional societies, or the no less terrible era of decolonization and the enormous sacrifices needed to leave it behind.   Two so-called “world” wars caused millions of deaths and gave rise to means of massive destruction like the nuclear bomb.   Far from appearing as the monstrous effects of the conflicts of interest generated by capitalism, these were presented, in their turn, as the struggle of Good against Evil.    And this very convenient myth was rapidly employed once again to justify the Cold War and the billions of dollars spent on nuclear armaments.    As it was used later to cover up the sordid interests of the Gulf War and the more recent Balkan war.

 

            At the beginning of the third millennium, this belief or system of beliefs, developed and expanded by the new means of communication and information, is called “globalization”[3]    This is not the place to dwell on the tremendous barrage of the media, which runs from scholarly debates to forums like that of Davos, from the economic and mathematical justifications of the exceptionally gifted experts of the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund to “popular” best-sellers like “The End of History” of Fukuyama or the “Clash of Civilizations” of Huntington.   But we should bear in mind the prodigious measures used to legitimize, at the world level, this new cycle of capitalism.    The stakes are enormous.

 

            Let us look at some of its main characteristics.

 

            Capitalism as a system of production is not new, nor is its development at the international level.   “The Great Transformation”, to use Karl Polanyi’s[4] phrase, began several centuries ago and it has not finished its work of submitting all forms of social life to the profit motive.    It has been marked by economic and social crises, bloody conflicts, massive destruction of entire populations and cultures, but it has continued its homogenizing action, spreading to all continents and all spheres of human activity.   It is “totalitarian” by definition because its logic excludes all other logic.    But its “totalitarianism” is far from being uniform and there are many and varied resistances, from the most conservative like ethnic and religious identity to the more innovatory, like movements such as Attac.

 

            The most important and best organized resistance was that of “actually existing socialism” which forced capitalism to “humanize” its action throughout the twentieth century.   Keynesianism, the Welfare State, Fordism, Developmentalism were in large part made possible by the existence of a strong, organized alternative to pure capitalism.[5]

 

            With the collapse of the “socialist camp” which all the media images showing the fall of the Berlin wall have transformed into the founding event of a new epoch, the “end of history” was announced and, for a temporarily victorious capitalism,  the constraints imposed by competition between the two systems no longer counted.   “Liberalism”, finally liberated from its socialist alter ego, shook off its social and political encumbrances and became “neoliberal” - in other words openly and entirely liberal.   It is the time of “deregulation”, exclusive market-oriented laws to organize not only production, but also culture, education, health, the relations between States and societies, between nations and corporations, between generations, etc.

 

            This trend of course started well before 1989, but at the beginning it only affected the less resistant Western societies like the United States of America under Reagan and Great Britain under Thatcher, or the weakest nation-states of Africa and Latin America through the Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs).

 

            The barrier created by the socialist alternative having disappeared and discretion no longer being necessary, the contemporary form of capitalism, neoliberalism, thus becomes today’s hegemonic way of thinking and the liberation of market forces, the ultimate aim of “good governance”.

 

            This strategic victory coincides with a profound change in the production system, especially in the field of communication and information.   As Manuel Castells[6] has observed: 

 

The new information technologies, by transforming the process of information treatment, influence all spheres of human activities and make it possible to establish innumerable connections between different fields, as well as between the elements and agents of these activities.   Thus a network economy emerged, which was extremely interdependent and which became increasingly able to apply the progress of its technology, knowledge and management to technology, knowledge and management themselves. … This new economy is informational because the productivity and competitiveness of its units essentially depends on their capacity to apply effective information based on knowledge … this new economy is global because the key activities of production, consumption and distribution, as well as their constituents (capital, labour, primary materials, management, information, technology, markets) are organized at the world level, either directly or through a network of contacts between the economic agents.

 

The strategic victory of capitalism and the information revolution thus combine to accelerate the globalization movement “inserting economic activities all over the world into an interdependent system that functions as a unit in real time.” [7]

 

            Capitalism is thus a winner twice over.  First, at the strategic level: with the collapse of the competing experience of “actually existing socialism”, the dominant classes are freed from the political, social and even ethical restraints they had ended by adopting as a philosophy -  the old bourgeois humanism of the nation-state, European style, with the regulation of public policies, as well as the Keynesian regulation of the economy.     Second, at the technological level: with the constraints of space-time breaking down, one after the other, it became possible to manage globalized economic units (production, trade, finance) in real time.

 

            The whole new ideology of globalization rests on this double success.  Cleverly playing on these two keyboards, the fantastic successes of the new technologies and the lamentable failure of the socialist experience, the “new evangelists of the market” proclaim on high that the path thus opened up is unique, irrefutable.    That it is thanks to the laws of the market and profit that we owe this progress and therefore by extending them to all societies and all aspects of social activity, humanity can progress.    That this new capitalist ideology effectively “gives new life” to capitalism, by presenting it as a system of production, which is new, global (or becoming so), inevitable and unavoidable.   Like all ideology closed up within its dogmas, it prohibits any alternative thinking, dismissed in advance as being conservative and reactionary.

 

            Backed by the powerful Bretton Woods institutions, taking full advantage of the most modern communication and information techniques, its job is to provide a universal legitimacy for what, after all, is but the result of a specific history and, as such, is susceptible to change.

 

 

GLOBALIZATION AND REGIONALIZATION

 

            The new developments help us to understand the present dynamic of the capitalist system and we have used these insights to try and analyze the efforts being made to create a “Euro-Mediterranean” space.

 

            We should first remember that the nation state as a socio-historical form of capitalist development is not “in itself” exclusive of other forms - local, regional or transnational.   Merchant capitalism existed in the oldest empires[8], in China, India and the Middle East.    But it is in Europe that capitalism, driven by the first industrial revolution was to take real root in production activities and become the leading mode of production.     At the same time, new kinds of states appear on the scene, which shaped, in different forms, the social milieu in order to make “nations”:  England, France, Germany and, later on, the countries to the south and east of Europe.

 

            These capitalist nation states like England and France possessed a farflung collection of colonies and were already global capitalist systems.  The first of them developed with the British industrial revolution and it affected all Europe and then the United States, before the cycle was closed with Russia and Japan.   Western Europe governed the world, but there were rivalries between European countries and these exploded in 1914 in what is known as the first world war.

 

            The post-war period was instable.   It saw the rise of the USA and its “challenger” the USSR, but also the increasing power of the last capitalist nation states, Germany and Japan.   All this ended by the gigantic explosion of the second world war, which was succeeded by the “cold war”, a period of structural competition between the two systems.  It accelerated decolonization but it also changed imperialism: the territorial possessions lost out to more cunning forms of domination, such as economic and technological “dependence”.

 

            With the end of the cold war, the  primacy of the United States was evident and the new system that has developed could be termed “more capitalist than ever”, but also more “American”.   Accumulation takes place at unequal levels.   It is aided by the elimination of customs duties that the WTO (World Trade Organization) expects to complete within a few decades, the deregulation of the economy in the different nation states as well as the liberalization of financial flows, but also by the information revolution which provides it with a technological base that is extraordinarily effective.

 

            At the same time, however, there has been a structural change in the economy with an increasing number of multinationals or, more precisely “transnationals” that operate in networks.[9]   The multiplication and concentration of these corporations in certain sectors over the last few decades is one of the main characteristics of contemporary capitalism.    They have helped to accelerate the exchanges in commodities and are now responsible for 60 per cent of world trade.   It is estimated that they account for some 30 per cent of production.    They have been helped by the large banks and financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization, who have attacked the old forms of State regulation, their main target.   In this way they have directed much of the capital flow towards short-term investment (hot money), weakening the framework of monetary creation by the central banks and thus promoting the stock market crashes that within days can bring down whole national economies.

 

            The structure of the world economy becomes instable, while it weakens State forms of intervention in the fields of taxes, banking, customs and stock markets.

 

            In the new system, however, the unequal development between classes, countries and regions is destined to worsen.   The general freeing up of trade and financial transactions enfeeble all national institutions, beginning with those of the weaker countries.   Certain countries have been resisting, like Korea, Malaysia and China, or are organizing themselves regionally, but most of them are trying to accelerate the “reforms” (concerning taxes, banking and social affairs) which are supposed to promote general growth but in fact mainly benefit the new neoliberal credo.

 

            Since 1990 there has been a geographical polarization which has taken the form of regional bodies that go beyond national frontiers.   But the most active regionalizations have been those forged around the central poles of the world economy, the “Triad”:  Japan and South East Asia, the United States of America, Western Europe.

 

            The European Union is the oldest of these regional constructions.   Launched by the Treaty of Rome in 1957, the European Economic Community (EEC) was then composed of only six countries and grew out of former organizations, created just after the second world war, like the Organization for European Co-operation and Development (OECD)  and the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).  Their aims were to reconstruct a Europe that had been ruined by the war, to calm French/German conflicts and, under the leadership of NATO, to constitute a front vis-à-vis the countries of Eastern Europe.

 

            The EEC increased its forms of co-operation in order to ensure the independence of the region in the fields of energy and, especially, agriculture, with the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).    The regionalization movement gathered momentum, spreading to other sectors and then, in 1986,  the “Single Act” was signed, which envisaged the removal of internal frontiers and the free circulation of people, goods and capital.   In 1992, the Treaty of Maastricht envisaged the relaunching of the political union but also the construction of an economic and monetary union, with the establishment of a European Central Bank by 1997 at latest.   And, while the regionalization movement consolidated the European Union (now with fifteen members), there emerged NAFTA, formed round the USA, and ASEAN, formed round Japan.

 

            As this regionalization process took place in an avowedly neoliberal framework, it weakened the traditional means of regulation of nation states, without however, transferring their powers to a regional regulating authority.   Brussels has remained a soul-less bureaucratic apparatus, strongly influenced by the Bretton Woods institutions and by policies for freeing up the market.   Unemployment, the job crisis, deregulation of the economy, the reductions in non-productive expenditure (health, education, etc.) were the results of the famous “Maastricht criteria” which was but the European velvet glove covering the iron hand of world neoliberalism.

 

            As Pierre Bourdieu has remarked:[10]

 

What is at issue is the role of the State (both the national State as it now exists and the European State that is to be created), particularly as concerns social rights and the role of the social State, which is the only force able to act as a counterweight to the inexorable results of the market economy when left to itself.   One can be against a Europe like that of Mr. Tietmeyer, which will serve the interests of the financial markets, while at the same time be in favour of a Europe which, by mutually agreed policies, can impede the violence of those markets.   But there is little hope of this happening in the Europe that the bankers are preparing for us.   One cannot expect that social integration will be ensured through monetary integration.   On the contrary: we know that the countries that want to preserve their competitiveness within the euro area to the detriment of their partners will have no other choice but to lower their wage expenditure by reducing social charges.   Social and wage dumping and the “flexibility” of the job market will be the only choices left open to countries, as they have lost their right to interfere with the rates of exchange … Only a European social state will be able to counteract the disintegrating effect of the monetary economy.    But Mr. Tietmeyer and the neoliberals do not want national states, which they consider just an obstacle to the free working of the economy, or - still less - a supranational state, which they would like to reduce to a bank.”

 

            This long quotation from one of the most perceptive “social” observers of this Europe which is in the process of creation clearly shows the ambiguity of the regionalization processes at work in the world today.    It is a response as well as a reaction to the acceleration of a polarizing globalization in the precise sense of the term given it by Samir Amin.[11]   These processes could follow the neoliberal logic of this polarizing globalization - or they could resist it.   It will depend on the forms of action and alternatives that the social struggles in these regions will be developing in the future.

 

            While the interests of the European popular classes are being constantly threatened by the form that the construction of Europe is taking and while, therefore, the future of this region will depend on the extent to which the social movements and intellectuals take part in this construction, what about the interests of the peoples of the less developed countries, who are the most vulnerable?    You can bet that it is not Mr. Tietmeyer who is going to take pity on their fate.

 

            We should remember that, at the gates of the European Union, to the south of the Mediterranean, there are countries with fast population growth that have provided Europe, during the Thirty Glorious Years (mid-forties to mid-seventies), with the workers it needed.   Now job opportunities for them are closing up in Europe, while in their own countries, structural adjustment programmes have already produced their quota of unemployment, under-employment and pauperization.   The question of control over the European frontiers vis-à-vis the southern side of the Mediterranean - but also Eastern Europe and the Balkans - is thus a central issue in the construction of the European Union.   The Mediterranean is becoming one of the most sensitive frontiers of our time.[12]

 

            This issue shows up a major contradiction in neoliberal philosophy which preaches the freedom of movement for goods and capital in all their forms, while prohibiting freedom of movement for people.    With the polarized, unequal development that this logic will certainly accentuate where it already exists and be constantly stimulated when considered necessary, we can only expect huge and “uncontrollable”[13] migratory movements throughout the world, particularly from the southern side of the Mediterranean.   The construction of the European Union is - and will always be - torn by this contradiction inherent in its own logic, as indeed is the case with the United States vis-à-vis NAFTA.

 

            The Euro-Mediterranean partnership project should also be seen in this perspective, although it should not be reduced to this dimension alone.   For it reveals, in spite of all the diplomatic euphemisms and solemn declarations, a duplicity, or at least an ambiguity, that is cunningly concealed in the discourse.   It is our view that this project is principally a “defence” agreement and one that protects the EU against possible social, political and cultural “overflowing” from the countries on the southern side of the Mediterranean.   As to the presentation of the project, which is nothing if not byzantine, it merely reflects a more “civilized” European style, compared with the brutality of the American approach to the subject.   But we get the impression that the objectives are the same.

 

 

 2) The Euro-Mediterranean partnership: fiction and fact

 

            The process launched by the Barcelona Conference of 1995, which brings the European countries together with those on the southern side of the Mediterranean, aims at creating a free trade area, the Mediterranean Free Trade Zone (?) (MFTZ) like the one created in North America, consisting of the USA, Canada and Mexico (NAFTA) or the one in Asia (ASEAN).   As will be seen later, this initiative clearly reflects the new dynamics of globalization and is scarcely any more original, at least in its economic aims, than other such efforts.

 

            However what makes the process significant, we feel, are the historic and strategic conditions in which it is taking place: the Israel-Palestine and Israel-Arab conflicts and the huge migratory flows from the south to the north of the Mediterranean.   These conditions obviously determine the political and institutional forms that the Europeans, who conceived the project, have adopted in order to carry it out.   Our investigations therefore start with them, because of the importance given to the “discourse” and institutions that have been set up to make the whole process permanent.     The discourse is above all rhetorical, as can be seen from the following example:

 

The Euro-Mediterranean partnership, which came into being during the conference of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Euro-Mediterranean countries, which was held in November 1995 in Lisbon, constitutes the most important initiative that has been taken in modern times to develop sustainable and solid ties between both sides of the Mediterranean.[14]

 

Those concerned with the present relationships between the European countries and those of the southern side of the Mediterranean must surely gag at the incredible verbosity of the discourse.   There has been a large number of reports, studies, reviews, colloques and other forums in connection with meetings of more or less importance and which have taken place at more or less regular intervals.   But they have always been given far more attention in the media than were warranted by their achievements on the ground, as we shall see later.

 

            This experience has been too visible because it has been deliberately publicized. It has talked too much about itself, using excessive rhetoric, stodgy “techno-scientific” analyses and philosophical and literary attempts at giving it historical and human depth.   These three kinds of discourse correspond neatly to the three levels of the institutional construction of the relationship:  the political, the economic and the “civil society”.   These three levels in turn determine the three categories of actor: the politicians, the technocrats and those who lead “civil society”.

 

            A few examples give an idea of the general ethos surrounding this project.

 

            Let us start with the first one, that of the politicians.

 

The Euro-Mediterranean partnership, inaugurated during the conference of Barcelona in 1995, defines a policy with objectives that are ambitious and long-term (the Barcelona process).   It should be distinguished from earlier European Union policies vis-à-vis the Mediterranean, which gave more importance to development assistance than to a partnership among equals.   The greater commitment that followed the declaration of Barcelona originated in the European Union’s vital strategic interests in its immediate Mediterranean neighbours…The main objectives of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership are:  1) the creation of a zone of peace and stability, based on the principles of human rights and democracy;  2) the construction of a zone of shared prosperity by the gradual setting up of an area of free trade between the European Union and its Mediterranean partners and between these same partners, accompanied by a large financial support from the Community to facilitate economic transition and help partners deal with the socio-economic challenges caused by this transition;   3) the improvement of mutual understanding between the peoples of the region and the promotion of free and flourishing civil society, thanks to the organization of cultural exchanges, the development of human resources and support for civil societies and social development.[15]

 

            This extract from a report on the Euromed project by one of the top officials on the European side is a model of its kind.  There is the wordy core, from which stem, in successive layers,  the other elements of the Euro-Mediterranean rhetoric:  peace, stability, human rights and democracy, then prosperity and free trade and finally social development, the emergence of civil society and the increase in cultural exchanges between the two sides of the Mediterranean, which should close the virtuous circle of this new kind of partnership.

 

            It is because the relationship is to cover these three fields that it must be based on a partnership because “the Barcelona conference”, we are told,[16] “has transformed Mediterranean policy into a global, coherent approach, respectful of a certain balance between the different fields.   By combining the three constituents within a global policy, it recognizes that there is no use having a separate approach to financial, economic, cultural and security questions.”

 

            But that is not all.   It is less in the overall approach (the three constitutive elements) than in the ways in which it will be put into operation that gives this partnership its originality.

 

            Numerous declarations, regulatory texts and analyses stress that: 

 

the different partners must meet and discuss together the framework, preferably multilateral, of the projects being proposed.   Dialogue is here the key word for this regional innovation.    One of the main achievements of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership has been the carrying on of political dialogue in the context of the Barcelona process, even while the peace process in the Near East was at an impasse.   The partnership continues to be the only multilateral political framework within which the representatives of Syria and Lebanon participate regularly with their Israeli counterparts.[17]

 

            People do indeed meet and talk a lot about the Euro-Mediterranean framework because this is one of its most ambitious objectives:  “to create a permanent dialogue between 27 partners who are all very different from one another”, as explained by the Barcelona conference programme. To do this, a host of “exchange venues” have been set up to promote concertation in all fields and at all levels of decision-making.

 

            There are the Conferences (four in five years), which bring together the diplomatic heads of the 27 States, but also regular meetings of the ministries of foreign affairs, those of the steering committee of the partnership among the ambassadors, that are more frequent (every quarter), those of the ministries in their respective fields (interior, economy and finance, trade, agriculture, etc.), and those of the top government officials, especially in the field of security.   They have even gone to far as to set up networks such as the institutes for foreign policy (EuroMesCo), whose headquarters is at Malta, which organize training seminars for Euro-Mediterranean diplomats.   As the European promoters like to repeat:  “The most important thing is to establish trust among the partners, which is the basis of dialogue.”   Indeed, the institutionalization of dialogue appears as one of the main objectives of the future Euro-Mediterranean charter for peace and stability.

 

            Hence, to consolidate this institutionalization, it was decided to reach beyond decision-makers and technocrats.   There is an increasing number of Euro-Mediterranean networks and opportunities for encounters:  the “Civil Forum” is bringing together the parliamentarians on both sides of the sea, as well as university staff, artists and the NGO leaders who are developing in the new fields of human rights, the press, humanitarian and social activities, and so on.      The important capitals around the Mediterranean, in Italy, Spain and France, but also in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, warmly welcome these meetings, conferences and training seminars that bring together intellectuals, journalists and militants on both sides of the sea, to discuss Euro-Mediterranean issues.    The discussions are featured in the press and on radio, television and the internet, where numerous sites are dedicated to the subject.    Newspapers and magazines give importance to this information, while journals and scholarly reviews dedicate whole issues to this experience.

 

            In spite of the differences of style, according to the different fields and type of actors, the general attitude is very favourable to the project.   This was the case particularly at the start, in the wake of the Barcelona Conference.  But at the end of the first cycle when its mediocre results became apparent, criticisms began to surface, particularly in Marseilles in 2000, when the first balance sheets were drawn up.   Results were well below expectations.

 

            Nevertheless, the Euro-Mediterranean partnership project was presented in the official discourses by politicians and diplomats as the ultimate solution for helping the countries south of the Mediterranean to evolve in a positive manner and it continues to appear, in “scientific” texts, as the “best path” for economic and social development, as well as for its interventions in “civil society”.     Diplomatic rhetoric is thus reinforced by a scholarly discourse.  

 

            For example, in the journal “Confluences”, which dedicated several numbers to the project, a certain Agnès Chevalier wrote: 

 

The Euro-Mediterranean agreements are substantially different from previous development assistance agreements.   They are based on the principle of adherence to disciplinary rules and a series of values.    In the traditional fields of economic aid, particularly commercial preferences, and financial assistance, the approach has been radically changed.   Commercial preferences will from now on be reciprocal for there will be a two-way exchange of  trade in industrial products, while European grants will be linked to conditionalities.   It is an important change.   With commercial reciprocity, the Euro-Mediterranean relationship will no longer be one of assistance, it will become the partnership that has been invoked for so many years (to the point that the EU could seem, in the short term, as the main beneficiary of regional free trade).    The prospect is much more demanding for the Mediterranean economies which must open up to competition …  It is now known that it is only by opening up internationally that the developing economies can hope to improve their standard of living…”[18]

 

            There are dozens of texts of this kind which, purporting to be scientific, repeat normative judgments such as “it is only by opening up internationally that the developing economies can hope to improve their standard of living” or blatantly inaccurate statements like “there will be a two-way exchange of trade in industrial products”.    Little attention is given to contrary evidence and diplomatic rhetoric is just given an academic gloss.    But such reinforcement seems to give it scientific legitimacy which makes it more credible at the second level, that of the technocrats, who, in their turn, can use it the better to carry out their work in the field.   The training seminars and all the networks connecting the technicians from both sides of the sea  have been put in place for an effective dissemination of the messages of this pseudo-science.     The purpose of the publications of the Euromed institutions in this field is striking, in view of the objectives being pursued:   to spread among the circles concerned a ready-made way of thinking that can easily be used.

 

            Partnership, co-development, sustainable development, free trade, opening the economy, levelling up, liberalization …a lexicon of this new Euro-Mediterranean political economy should be drawn up.   It cleverly hides the real stakes of a political economy which are much more prosaic.

 

            But, as Samir Amin comments:  

 

All these proposals stem directly from the exclusive logic of globalized neoliberalism (opening up of the economy, creating a friendly environment for foreign investment, deregulation, dismantling protection, etc.) as it is seen by the United States, the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF.   But this logic which emerges clearly in any analysis of the facts, is drowned in a technicist and normative discourse - the opposite to rational argumentation - the final objective of which is not an analysis of the facts, but justification for political action.

 

            Scholarly discourse has also rallied to its side a technostructure that was already quite won over by the neoliberal logic, even if there have been a few controversies and polemics limited to some specialist fields.    However, it was not enough:  the partnership project, if it is to be sustainable, must go beyond the narrow confines of the “leading elites”.   It must attract broad sections of the middle classes that are organized or on the way to being organized in the new ties created by associations that the local authorities are forced to tolerate.

 

            This, then, is where the “civil society” comes in.   The discourse on “human rights” and on “democracy” thus covers the dryer and less attractive discourse on economic liberalization and the laws of the market - or the still more boring and meaningless language of the politicians:

 

The concept of partnership aims at creating a real zone of shared prosperity but it should not limit itself to relationships between States if it really wishes to fulfil its objective of co-development … It is thus necessary to reinforce and put in place the necessary instruments for decentralized  co-operation in order to promote exchanges between the development actors in the framework of internal legislation:  those responsible for political and civil affairs, the cultural and religious world. universities, researchers, media, associations, trade unions and private and public enterprises… To do this, action that supports democratic institutions and the reinforcement of the rule of law and civil society will be supported.[19]

 

            Many forums were then launched to mobilize the human rights militants and other non-governmental associations who, for their part, hoped it would help them to escape the overwhelming pressures of those who governed them and reinforce their capacities for local action.   Often it resulted in compromise:  anti-liberal democrats and opposition leaders used the opportunity to expand and reinforce their activities by giving them greater visibility.   Sometimes it was very useful to denounce wrongful imprisonments, electoral frauds and police brutality - or even state crimes that took place here and there and which local authorities were used to committing with impunity.  In these cases, as possibilities to protest had previously been non-existent or limited, the Euro-Mediterranean forums provided unexpected opportunities to continue the struggle.

 

            As far as the European project designers were concerned, this was still not enough.   Other categories had to be reached, beyond the “political society”, for it was essential to obtain the largest possible support, thus giving more legitimacy to the “association project” that they wanted to instal.

 

            This was to be the role of the Euromed Civil Forum, which was created in Barcelona and was to function as a “dialogue agora”.   University personnel, personalities from the fields of culture and the arts like film directors, artists, poets, but also NGO activists representing a wide range of social action, were to be invited to meet, dialogue and exchange experiences in order to construct common grounds that transcend the North/South divide and impart a human dimension to the Euro-Mediterranean political and economic project.   

 

A common Mediterranean civilization is put forward as being a melting-pot giving depth to the project.  The humanities and social sciences, particularly history and anthropology, are thus called upon to give the idea its historical legitimacy, as well as literary texts, films and drama.   The writings of Taha Hussein and Tewfik Al-Hakim are rediscovered to accentuate the “Mediterranean” identity of Egypt.   Spanish Andalusia is highlighted, to stress both its tolerance and the Mediterranean that it had constructed.   The notion of cultural diversity is stressed, both to cover up old antagonisms and attenuate current conflicts, but also to de-emphasize very strong identities, for example the “Arab” character of the countries on the southern rim which risk resuscitating the “non politically correct” issue of the unity of the Arab world or the highly inconvenient question of Israeli colonialism.

 

            Thus the Mare Nostrum of the poets is added to the human rights and  democracy of opposition militants, to the rationality of the economists in the technostructure, to the farsightedness of the political leaders to bring the virtuous circle of the Euro-Mediterranean discourse to a harmonious conclusion.

 

            In this way the “Barcelona Consensus” can function without too many shocks:  peace, prosperity, liberty and tolerance, which covers, in a perfectly logical sequence, the different dimensions of the project, as well as the various social actors who have to carry it out.   The liberalization of the national economies in the new free trade zone can now start.

 

 

 

THE EUROMED PROJECT, A COMPLEX INSTITUTIONAL CONSTRUCTION

 

            However, the “dialogue”, which is a condition of the “partnership”, requires places and spaces that are permanent if it is to be carried out over a long period of time.    This is partly the reason why the European designers of the project have concentrated on constructing all these institutions through which the partners have to “dialogue” and which will be the springboard for decisions and actions.   The present  author recognizes the very many difficulties in deconstructing such a complex and bureacratic mechanism and admits his perplexity in grasping its end objectives.  True, the Merton theory of changing the ends by the means enables us to understand, at least partially, the internal logic of this veritable institutional bulimia typical of bureaucracy, as the EU technocrats know very well.   Each problem has its committee or commission, its bureaucrats and its experts.  But in the case of the Euromed project, events have taken a caricatural turn.

 

            All dimensions of social activity - political, economic, civil and cultural - and all hierarchical levels of decision making, as well as the social actors involved, have created or will create some institution, committee, commission, council, centre or forum.   Internet (thanks to the NTIC ??) then makes it possible to connect all those involved in order to ensure, apart from occasional meetings, a “permanent dialogue” among themselves.   Let us not forget that the motto of this extraordinary set-up is dialogue, which is an indispensable condition of partnership.    Sometimes, in fact, they have even created institutions for specialized training to help “the partners” speak the same language, which is of course the one that the European designers of the project want to impose in order to inculcate the new ideology more easily.    The virtues of simple dialogue are not enough, there is a “pedagogy” to be learnt through the training institutes, specialized seminars, etc.   This has led a critical observer, Sebastian Sadek, to remark sarcastically:   “Europe cannot respond by creating an infinite series of research centres and academics and then project them on the past in a generalized way.”[20]

 

            Let us have a quick look at this institutional construction.

 

At the political level

 

            The Conferences bring together the foreign affairs ministers of the 27 countries that are partners in Euromed.   Since the one in Barcelona, in November 1995, there have been eleven such meetings, some of them official and others, like think tanks, more informal.    There are also regional conferences on policies concerning specific sectors (culture, industrial co-operation, information, energy, local water management, the environment, health, etc.)

 

            However, the most frequent meetings are those of the Euro-Mediterranean Committee on the Barcelona Process, which is the central steering group of the partnership as a whole.   These quarterly meetings bring ambassadors together and are intended to adopt policies for regional co-operation between the different partners.  It should be noted that, within this framework, the representatives of Syria and Lebanon have been able to meet regularly with their Israeli counterparts.   This remarkable achievement is often proudly highlighted by the European officials who see it as a proof of the effectiveness of their peace strategy within the whole project.   Thus, in an evaluation report on the first cycle of the Barcelona process, the European Commission stressed that:

 

Barcelona is the only context for ministerial meetings in which Israel, Syria and the Lebanon participate.   This is not without its importance during the last three years when the Middle East peace process has been blocked.  Since the Barcelona Conference (1995), the foreign affairs ministers of the 27 partner countries have met periodically, in Malta (1997), Palermo (1998 - informal meeting), Stuttgart (1999) and Lisbon (2000 - informal meeting).    In addition, twelve ministerial sectoral meetings have been organized during this period.[21]

 

            A little while after this text was published (September 2000), the second intifada broke out - which at least had the merit of seriously weakening the self-satisfaction of the Commission.     Nevertheless, the European strategists continued to invoke the virtues of dialogue.   Still today, after 11 September, and while Israel, led by Sharon, is flouting international law with even great brutality and ferocity, the European partners of the countries on the southern Mediterranean are incapable of taking action based on the principles underlying the Barcelona discourse and insist on the need for dialogue.

 

            On the bilateral level, the Association Councils create regular contacts between the officials of the countries concerned by these agreements and their European counterparts.

 

            However, apart from the restricted group of the “decision-makers”, it is felt that there is need for greater dialogue and involvement of the technicians and experts responsible for implementing the directions given by the politicians.   In this framework, many meetings[22] bring together the senior officials responsible for policy and security coordination on questions as diverse as peace-building, human rights, conflict prevention and the work programme of the Euro-Mediterranean network of foreign policy research institutes.

 

EuroMesCo is the name of this network which is composed of 37 research institutes situated on both sides of the Mediterranean and which are to organize training seminars in five fields:  political dialogue and security among the partnership, interdependencies, foreign policy and mutual security (the PESC programme), sub-regional co-operation and governance issues.    These are mainly aimed at the young diplomats and administrators who will be working in the different sectors fields of the partnership.    Consulting the webside of this network, we have been able to read the texts prepared by the discussion leaders on the theme of political and security dialogue - texts which have been disseminated by the journal created for this purpose.   We were astonished to see the analyses dedicated to peace in the Mediterrean dismissing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a corny problem of “intolerance” and “fundamentalism” and to cover up, through rhetoric about peace between people, the sinister colonial reality of Israeli policy.

 

A new programme “culture for peace and human rights” has just been launched by the European Commission and should receive trainees regularly from the 27 States.  One can already imagine what texts the future trainees will have to study and what ideas will be presented to them!

 

Besides the decision-makers and the experts, the Euromed project should also involve the elected politicians.   Thus the Parliamentary Euro-Mediterranean Forum has been created.   It will bring together parliamentarians of the Mediterranean countries participating in the Barcelona process, the National Parliaments of the Member States of the European Union, as well as the European Parliament.   It meets annually, but has a permanent strucuture which ensures follow-up activities between the sessions.   This institution functions as a place for dialogue, but also as a “transmission belt” which should convey the Euromed activities and projects under way to the political classes in each country. 

 

            Decision-makers, experts and elected representatives cannot escape the need for dialogue and its implications in the Barcelona process.   The institution becomes a genuine constraint, the strength of which many of the actors on the southern side, who have been used to the individual action of despotism, have not yet understood.   As its European project designers have remarked: 

 

The potential of the Barcelona process cannot be fully realized until the countries in the region have generally “appropriated” the process.   More efforts can be made to explain the objectives and advantages of the process and to turn it into an active and vibrant partnership. …Greater visibility should be given to all the projects that have received aid from it, so a “Euro-Mediterranean partnership” label will be given to it.[23]

 

At the economic and financial level

 

            Here there is the same institutional “architecture”, with its different stages corresponding to the various categories of actors (decision-makers, experts, elected representatives and civil society), as well as all the ways in which questions will be tackled: forums, networks, training institutes, etc.

 

            MEDA is the name of all these economic and financial programmes around which the Euro-Mediterranean project is constructed.   It is led by a permanent steering committee and based on the European delegations in the different countries of the southern Mediterranean, which constitute the local support for development actions.

 

            There is no need here to go into a detailed analysis of all the institutions that have been created to organize and implement the projects.   But, just as at the political level, the overall logic remains the same,  in spite of the complexity and diversity of the sectors concerned which is far greater here.  In other words, the aim is to bring together and involve as many agents as possible so that they “appropriate” this logic and internalize it.

 

            Banks, business centres, transport, energy, water, agriculture and the environment are thus more or less seen in a framework of action at the national level (the setting up of business centres in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia), as well as  at regional level (the Femise network of institutes for economic research), while the more or less regular forums are open to the chambers of commerce or, in the framework of the Unimed network, to the employers’ organizations.   In such cases the aims of the dialogue are cleverly linked to training sessions:  “emphasis is put on the practical aspects of how to structure and manage an employers’ organization or how to analyze the reform of external assistance programmes.”    In the framework of industrial co-operation and in order to accelerate “the economic transition”, representatives of the private sector are increasingly invited to participate and play an active role in the implementation of projects.

 

            Here, too, the involvement of “civil society” is encouraged.   In each of the 27 countries, Economic and Social Councils” (CES)[24] and similar institutions are encouraged to organize themselves into a permanent forum “in order to contribute to a better understanding of the important issues concerning the Euro-Mediterranean partnership”.   At their meeting in November 2000 the representatives of these councils “call on the Ministries of Foreign Affairs to recognize the importance of annual social and professional summits, the usefulness of the projects that result from these encounters and the need for a dialogue that is permanent and structured with organized civil society”.[25]    This involvement is important because it gives legitimacy to the European action in the economic and social fields.    The social effects of the transition towards the market economy and the privatizations of the public sector will, in fact, be tough and hard to swallow - especially for the working classes.   By accepting the principle of this transition, the CES give it their sanction and limiting their role to managing its effects through using (or, rather, under-using) social protection systems, which will be transformed and also the migratory pressures, which will be reinforced.    As for the latter, which is of primary concern to the European countries, an action programme  that becomes “legitimate” through this involvement thus becomes possible:  

 

Action will concentrate on the following items:   activities concerning the right of asylum and the protection of refugees;  co-operation in the struggle against illegal immigration and the traffic in human beings in particular;  the treatment of migration questions, in particular the social integration of migrants who legally reside in a Member State and co-development activities with their country of origin;  conformity of the judiciary systems, especially the laws concerning the family and inheritance;  co-operation in the fight against organized crime through the training of legal and police officials.[26]

 

            As can be seen, the dynamics of the process include dialogue and pedagogy with, of course, the underlying purpose of making the “partners” in the South “share” the postulates and ideas of the European project.   For example “conformity of the judiciary systems…and the laws concerning the family” is accompanied, to be more effective, with the “training of legal and police officials.”

 

 

Civil society

 

            We have already seen how civil society has been called upon, at the political and economic levels, to participate through parliamentary forums or employers organizations or the economic and social councils.     But it is only considered as a complementary structure to the economic and social reforms that should guide the political leaders and their respective technostructures.     We can now deal with the civil society as such, which is seen as a whole and relatively autonomous of the state and the political sphere.   The associations or NGOs that compose it cover the same sectors of social life as are administered by public policies - or supposed to do so - but their activities follow a different logic than that of the opposition parties and public officials.   Some of them, for example in the field of human rights and democracy, can oppose the activities of the state, while others, in the humanitarian or ecological fields[27] may supplement, or even replace them outright.    But all are - in principle - independent of the state and not much concerned by the strategies of political power, either local or national.

 

            For a long time the political systems of the countries to the south of the Mediterranean, which were organized on the single party model, had prohibited, or barely tolerated, all forms of association that risked competing with their monopoly over society.   Since the 1980s, triumphant neoliberalism has cleverly been accompanied by a liberating, democratic and humanitarian discourse, which made it attractive and enabled it to be imposed on the middle classes, who had grown tired of the straitjacket of despotism.   At the same time, the leading elites of these countries, who were unable to resist the structural adjustment programmes and neoliberal reforms imposed by the international institutions (IMF, World Bank and the WTO) and the Western countries, were forced to adjust their power system to the new norms and thus to accept the principle of independent associations.   This is the particular historical background which explains the very rapid emergence of civil society in this region and the new political issues that this introduces into politics.

 

            This political and strategic dimension has obviously not escaped the attention of the European promoters of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership project and they consider it as a key to their action.   It is through the civil society that the “Barcelona consensus” can become effective, by outflanking, in the Hegelian sense of the word aufgehoben, the limits of political power that its authoritarian exercise has reduced to cliques linked to society only through clientelism.    It is also through civil society that it is possible to get round possible resistance by the state and the remains of populism and nationalism that it harbours.    And it is thanks to civil society that the painful realities of neoliberal reform and the shameful compromises on peace can be more easily swallowed, or “appropriated” as the EU documents put it.     Cunningly wrapped up in an insipid mantle of humanitarianism, human rights and democracy, the hard core of the future association will be more easily accepted by the social groups that do not expect much from their state and who pragmatically take over the spaces left free as it is weakened.

 

            This is not the place for an exhaustive listing of the many NGOs created in the framework of the Euromed project.    Concerned as they are with the economic and social sectors, but also the cultural and artistic, they have profited from the benevolence of the MEDA programme, which has financed dozens of them.   It is to bring them together that the Barcelona Conference created the Euromed Civil Forum which has been given a permanent follow-up committee.   Dozens of projects lead to the regular creation of NGOs, networks, observatories and other institutions that concern the sectors covered by national policies, but which are dealt with outside official state circuits.   For, as a senior official of the European Commission has emphasized, “we support the citizen and civil society.  The governments can go very far by working with each other, but it is never enough.”[28]  

 

The importance given by European strategy to the involvement of civil society in the countries of the southern rim of the Mediterranean is not just window dressing.   As we have already seen, it is playing a major role in the European determination to establish political and economic commitments through inter-state agreements, but also to involve the whole society through its association network.   In fact, in their evaluation of the first five years of the Barcelona process, the rapporteurs link this question to the success of the whole process:  

 

A free and prosperous civil society is a basic precondition for the success of the partnership in all its aspects.    The non-governmental organizations acting in a legal framework can make a most useful contribution in various fields of the partnership…Constructive action, particularly the support given to NGOs, must be financed as part of the national MEDA programmes, as well as the MEDA programme to promote democracy.   Financial aid given by MEDA must be more subordinated to real progress in these fields.[29]   

 

Through this scarcely disguised threat of the European Commissioner, can be seen the importance that “civil society” plays in the arrangements being made by the EU to involve the countries of the southern rim of the Mediterranean in neoliberal reform.

 

            We should remember that, when the first structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) were launched in Africa, the strategies of the IMF and the World Bank which were picked up by the large American foundations like Ford and Rockefeller, as well as other US and Canadian programmes, redirected parts of their funding to African countries, particularly towareds the intellectuals, university personnel and other activist groups from the middle classes.    There, too, democracy and human rights were heavily emphasized and the mobilizing strength of the discourse had worked, almost for the same reasons as in the present case.   The powers of the state had become veritable fortresses that the classic forms of political opposition could not shake and external support for strong and independent civil societies was warmly welcomed.   But while the African militants and intellectuals were thinking in terms of the “democratic transition”, the strategists of the Washington Consensus were aiming at weakening the State in order to put their notorious SAPs into operation.    Since then the economies have been to a large extent broken up, privatized and opened to the world market, but in many countries the democratization of the governing institutions remains yet to be implemented.

 

            It goes without saying that the author of this text in no way wishes to act as the bird of evil omen for the southern Mediterranean countries.  However,  the European commitment to support strong civil societies in their countries and to encourage democracy and human rights, must be carefully analyzed.    It is true that this has enabled and can continue to enable the development of a social and political dynamic that can impose a relative opening up of local dictatorships.    However, linked as it is to the neoliberal strategy of the project as a whole, which has nothing whatsover of democracy about it, it is serving as an instrument, rather than as an end in itself.    On the other hand the heavy, verbose insistence in the Euro-Mediterranean discourse on this aspect of the process can also be seen as a ruse to persuade part of the population of these countries (the middle classes) to support the Barcelona process by playing on their own demands (more liberties, democratization, etc.), while minimizing or even shrugging off its dramatic economic and social consequences (greater unemployment, pauperization, etc.).  

 

Like its predecessor in Washington, the Barcelona Consensus is also a complex ideological construct elaborated to assist the neoliberal project.   It is based on dialogue and the persuasion of the “elites”, gaining access to the middle classes of the southern Mediterranean countries, and it is trying to get them so deeply involved in the whole process that it becomes irreversible.   The consensus wants “partners” - as long as the consensus itself can construct them.   But like all discourses of this kind, it ends by inverting the order of means and ends, causes and consquences, “the virtual and the real”.[30]    By ignoring the hard facts that the proposed action will have to face, sooner or later, it conjures up, like Voltaire’s Candide, “the best of all possible worlds”.

 

 

3) The Euro-Mediterranean project: beyond the discourse

 

Europe, Euromed and its “partners” south of the Mediterranean

 

            Europe and the policies of the European Union were at the origin of the Euromed project.   It was Europe that conceived, constructed and implemented it.   Throughout our investigation, we were struck by the fact that in all the official texts, solemn declarations, technical and political evaluations, as well as in meetings with cadres and “NGOs”, it is the European Union that is the “master of ceremonies”, vis-à-vis the countries south of the Mediterranean, who remain passive and cautious.   The structure of the whole Barcelona process has been worked out by the Europeans, in the form of legislative and regulatory texts, with the role of the southern Mediterranean countries being reduced to ratifying them.   

 

The working group meetings, like the large conferences and the forums are almost all held in large European cities, the economic metropole and real nerve centre of the process being Brussels, while the symbolic capital is Barcelona.   In the southern Mediterranean countries, the European Union has set up “national delegations” which depend on their European headquarters and work together those giving the orders, who are located in Europe.[31]    It is the European Union that  establishes, through its senior officials and experts, the priorities for action and funding methods, with the countries south of the Mediterranean being brought in later on to organize implementation in the field.

 

The partners

 

            It is the European Union that chooses which countries come within the Euromed framework.   On the one side, there are all the European countries integrated into the EU and which thus constitute a collective unity with a common organization and a shared strategy.   On the other side, there are the southern Mediterranean states, with no unifying force except that they are geographically situated in this same region.[32]  Most of them are Arab, but they have been arbitrarily separated from the other countries of the Arab world with whom, however, they form a relatively homogenous entity.  They already have an international representation, the Arab League, even if it is somewhat latent, ineffective and powerless.   The recognized powerlessness of this institution, like the Union of the Arab Maghreb (UAM?) reflects the decline of the states in this region and their inability to give organic form (economic and political) to what is an evident historical and cultural unity.     Playing on this weakness, the EU, after having “baptized” these Arab countries as “Mediterranean”, insists on associating them with the State of Israel (because it is situated on the southern Mediterranean?),  which not only has nothing in common (economic, technological, etc.) with the other countries, but which is occupying Palestine by force, is at war with Syria and Lebanon and is in conflict, to a greater or lesser degree, with the others.   It follows, using this “Carolingian” logic, that Finland, (?) which stretches almost to the North Pole, is involved in Euromed, because it belongs to the EU, while Mauritania, which is Arab and forms part of the UAM, as well as Libya,  remain outside the process: the first because it is “oceanic” and the second because it is “under embargo”.  

 

The European architects of the process have decided: the countries of the southern Mediterranean are included because of their geographical situation or their “docility”, while the inclusion of the European states depends on their economic and political integration.   Thus the criteria for inclusion are not the same.   Nevertheless, in spite of its apparent arbitrariness, there is a reason for this difference in treatment for it enables the integration of Israel into the Arab world with the hope, eventually, of seeing this country “accepted” by its neighbours.  The aim is to bypass, using economic logic, the conflicts between Israel and the Arab countries.    This is the strategic dimension of the Consensus of Barcelona in which both the naïveté and the timorous, hypocritical nature of the European approach to the conflict are all too apparent.

 

       On the other hand, the flagrant denial of the Arab character of most of the southern partners[33] in favour of the tenuously relevant, but more consensual “Mediterranean” epithet, enables the EU to dodge the complexity of its relationships with the Arab world, as well as avoiding any embarrassment for the American leadership.   For the United States, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, like their hegemony over the oil countries of the Arabian Gulf, are their own preserve which must be strictly respected by the European Union.[34]    This was quite brazenly pointed out by Christopher Patten, the European Commissioner in charge of Mediterranean affairs:  

 

The negotiations are primarily the responsibility of the parties involved.   But there is a role for the international community to support the process, and the European Union for its part attaches great importance to that task … But we need to work in close co-operation with the United States …. Europe cannot and should not compete with that work, or cut across it.

 

    Thus, as we can see, the architecture of the partnership imposed by the European Union on the Arab and Mediterranean countries must be fitted into the existing hierarchy of positions at the world level.  The strategic interests of the EU come “after” those of the United States.   Euromed expresses both the economic power of the European Union over its southern neighbours and its strategic weakness vis-à-vis the United States.   The Consensus of Barcelona is also to be interpreted in this triangular relationship, even though the third partner, the United States, does not figure much in its discourse.

 

            It should also be noted that the relationships of “partnership” presented by the Barcelona discourse presents as the great innovation of this kind of association are very unequal or assymmetrical in their very principle.   In fact, each of the southern Mediterranean states negotiates separately an association agreement, together with its implementation, with the European Union.     The “multilateralism” is therefore one-way: a powerful collection of states, with a common international strategy vis-à-vis weak national bodies that are not united in the process - indeed sometimes even rivals with one another in certain sectors like agriculture or tourism.   It is the logic of the “group” as opposed to that of the “series”[35] and the inevitable domination of the former over the latter.[36]    This domination becomes evident in the official documents in spite of all precautions to camouflage it.   It is the European Commission that fixes the objectives, in the form of injunctions and duties that the southern partners must follow:

 

The ad hoc meetings of senior officials, such as are currently being held, must be transformed into an institutional forum of dialogue on questions of policy and security and mechanisms must be created to promote effective joint action in the fields of terrorism, conflict prevention and crisis management.[37]

 

There are times when the Commission itself issues a veritable call to order:  

 

The Commission calls on Egypt to sign the association agreement and invites Lebanon, Syria and Algeria to collaborate with the Union to accelerate the negotiations so that they can be completed between now and June 2001, at latest…The Commission calls on the Member States to take the necessary measures to accelerate the ratification of the agreement with Jordan and guarantee that the subsequent agreements are ratified during the two years following signature.[38]

 

            And it is always the Commission that determines the agendas and the deadlines:  

 

For each country that has signed an association agreement, it is necessary to examine in detail the measures to be taken to carry out a greater, reciprocal liberalization of trade in the field of agriculture, from now on to the end of the transition period, according to the applicable arrangements of GATT and the WTO …All countries signing an association agreement with the EU must, during the course of the following five years at latest, complete free trade agreements with all the other signatories of association agreements.[39]   

 

What is clear is that the Arab states are required to accept the principle of the integration of Israel in a single market.   Here we find the initial trick:   the constitution of 27 partners in this round-about way, imposing the admission of Israel without it having to fulfil all the political preconditions.  And finally, the European officials lose no opportunity to recall that it is the EU that finances the programmes and it threatens to make the funds allocated conditional on the behaviour of the countries: 

 

…the relationship between the application of the association agreements and funding in the MEDA framework must be clarified, and future financial aid should be subordinated to the desire of partners to pursue the objectives of the agreements as concerns the economic transition.[40]

 

            These few examples - among many others - show that the discourse about partnership functions as an ideology in the strict sense of the term, that is, as “an inverted image of the real”.   The reality is that there is an inequality in power between the north and south Mediterranean, the European supervisors confronting states that are their clients.    Euromed is just a new, non-colonial form of domination based on the structural inequality of its European and Mediterranean components.   Through the smokescreen of the Barcelona discourse, the dominated countries of the south have become “partners” and the neoliberal reform process that is imposed upon them becomes an “association”.

 

The state of the art

 

            There have been many studies on the assymmetric and unequal character of the position of the EU countries and that of their Mediterranean partners.  Here we shall just give the salient points: for more details readers are referred to the statistical data at the end of this book.

 

            The inequality in the levels of national production is far greater than in other analogous situations, for example, the U.S.A. and Mexico in NAFTA.   The GNP of Belgium alone, considered a small country within the European Union, is estimated at  230 billion dollars - more than that of nine Arab Mediterranean countries.   In general the per capita income gap ranges from 1 to 10, taking Egypt in comparison with Denmark.   These gaps in revenue must not only be seen in economic, but also in social and cultural terms.   The rate of unemployment in the active population reaches 30 per cent in the southern countries and in certain situations (Morocco, Algeria) close to 40 per cent, with very strong pressures on the lowering of wages which, in turn, affect large parts of the informal - or unregulated - economy and/or migration towards Europe.    This reservoir of labour is utilized by states to deregulate the labour market and dismantle the social security systems that had been set up on the welfare state model in the aftermath of independence during the 1960s.   The labour reservoir thus promotes the “economic reforms” that the southern Mediterranean countries have started and that the Barcelona process is trying to complete.

 

            Meanwhile the public authorities and business are cleverly manipulating rivalry between workers in order to weaken the trade unions.   Associations of the unemployed[41] have been created almost everywhere while there are fewer and fewer possibilities of legal redress (through workers councils or work inspection) against increasing abuses of authority.    But globalization, with its ideological effects and its new methods of “social work” is already prepared to intervene:  the “war against poverty” replaces the “class struggle”, which is no longer politically correct, while humanitarian volunteers are gradually taking the place of the old militant trade unionists.    As we shall see later, religious associations are rushing into the breach thus opened, finding no difficulty in recruiting among the popular classes that have been abandoned by the state.    The Islamic opposition has become a popular force.

 

            The Human Development Index (HDI)[42] puts the EU countries in 15th place, while the countries south of the Mediterranean are positioned in 80th place and this would be even lower if Israel (23rd place), were not counted among them.   According to this index, the literacy rates of adults in the southern Mediterranean countries is still about 50 per cent (15 per cent for women), while illiteracy has been virtually eliminated in the EU countries.  It is true that the numbers of children and adolescents at school have grown enormously since the independence of these countries and the average attendance is now from 60 to 70 per cent but unfortunately, as the latest estimates[43] indicate, these statistics are not going to rise.  Rather, they will fall as a result of the large reduction in public expenditure, which is considered improductive by the World Bank strategists and implemented by the Structural Adjustment Programmes.  

 

Up until now the southern Mediterranean Arab countries have allocated a small proportion of their national revenue to education (average of 4 per cent)  and scientific research (average of 0.3 per cent) which places these countries well behind the European Union and even after Latin American and Asian countries with a similar economic level.   Even so, these thresholds, modest as they are, were linked to welfare state public policies and it is likely that the abandon of these methods of state regulation, which began with the Structural Adjustment Programmes, will continue during the Barcelona process.    The gaps between the southern Mediterranean countries and those of the European Union will thus deepen and hence the whole problematic of growth in the former countries.  The new strategies being developed in these fields are evident:  increasing privatization in education, which is strongly supported by the devotees of the new economy, and the switch of research from the public centres to private enterprise, with the gradual abandon of pure science in favour of applied science.   All this is taking place against a background of “brain drain” towards the Western countries that the new European policies of “selection immigration” is now preparing to supervise.

 

            However, it is above all in the process of insertion of the southern Mediterranean countries into the world economy where they are most vulnerable.  This is evident from the following statistics.   In 1998, intra-regional trade between them was estimated at about $9.5 billion (i.e. 3 per cent of the total), but $4.5 billion if Israel and Turkey are excluded, compared with $113 billion for trade with the European Union (if Israel and Turkey are excluded).    For comparison, the intra-regional trade of Asian countries belonging to ASEAN and the Latin American countries of MERCOSUR are nearly 25 per cent, which leaves the southern Mediterranean countries trailing well behind both these regions   This is all the more serious in that almost 50 per cent of the trade of these countries is carried out with the European Union alone.   

 

This exceptional “verticality” of trade with the European Union puts the countries of the southern Mediterranean in an extremely dependent situation vis-à-vis the EU, as well as promoting vigorous rivalry between them concerning the goods and services that they sell on the European market.   It makes horizontal co-operation between them more difficult - not to mention South/South regional integration policies.    This is exactly what the EU strategists want.  They have seized the opportunity of complimenting Tunisia, citing it as an example of good integration.    In their 1999 report[44], they emphasized:    “Trade relations with Tunisia are very good and show that this country is well integrated into the European market (78 per cent of exports and 72 per cent of imports from Tunisia are with the EU).   Consequently, Tunisia has already anticipated, since 1996, the dismantling of its tariffs with a view to a gradual establishment of bilateral free trade zones with the other Mediterranean countries, i.e. Morocco and Egypt.”    The dependency becomes more apparent when the economic structure and the trade of the two regions is analyzed.   The southern Mediterranean countries import manufactured products that are high value-added (machinery and equipment goods, medicines, high-tech services) and export mainly agricultural products and textiles.  This is responsible for the structural trade deficits with the EU - deficits that are constantly growing.  In 1990 the EU imported an approximate value of 28 billion euros from the southern Mediterranean countries and exported 37 billion euros;  in 2000, it imported 63 billion euros, but exported 85 billion euros.

 

            Other sources of external revenue for the southern Mediterranean countries are the emigré labour in Europe, tourism (Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco) and hydrocarbons (Algeria).   In most cases, the external trade balance of these countries thus depends on two or three products whose price fluctuations depend mainly on the European market which gives no commercial preferences to its Mediterranean partners.  Thus it is that the Common Agricultural Policy that the European countries have maintained after the WTO meeting at Doha in November 2001 continues to tax the products of these countries heavily, while insisting that they open their customs barriers as required by the Barcelona process.   In comparison with Mexico, the “rate of opening” (relationship of exports to imports) for the southern Mediterranean countries is much greater:  39 per cent for Morocco, 42 per cent for Algeria, 82 per cent for Tunisia, while for Mexico, it is 22 per cent.    Over the last few decades, the countries of the southern Mediterranean have been forced to accept the increase in their trade deficit in food products while the stereotype still prevailing in the West classes them as agricultural countries.    Today Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia have to import more than a third of their cereal consumption, while Algeria imports two-thirds.   Tunisia and Morocco, exporters of vegetables until the 1970s, are now importing them, as well as edible oils, the imports of which have increased 200 per cent in a decade.   We agree with Susan George that it is in this context that we should view the debts of the southern Mediterranean countries, the levels of which put them above the average of other developing countries.    

 

DEBT BURDEN IN DOLLARS PER HEAD OF THE POPULATION AND AS A PERCENTAGE OF THE GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT

 

COUNTRY              $$ PER HEAD OF                INTEREST AS A             STOCK  DEBT

                                      POPULATION [45]             % OF GNP IN 1994        AS % GNP IN 1994

 

ALGERIA

 

EGYPT

 

JORDAN

 

MOROCCO

 

TUNISIA

 

TURKEY

 

AVERAGE

 

GRP (?) MIMIC*

GRP (?) SIMIC*

ALL DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

 

 

* MIMIC =  Moderately Indebted Middle-Income Country

* SIMIC  =  Severely Indebted Middle-Income Country

 

            The World Bank classes Algeria and Jordan among the “severely indebted” middle-income countries;  Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey are “moderately indebted” while Egypt is a MILIC (Moderately Indebted Low-Income Country).    According to these figures, we see nothing very “moderate” in the levels of indebtedness, just as we cannot remark a great difference between these countries that have been classed in different categories.

 

            The above table shows that the southern Mediterranean countries have a much greater debt, whatever the yardstock chosen, than the average developing country.  The debt stocks of these countries, in relation to their GNP, is far greater than that of developing countries.   And all of them, observes Susan George, pay interest, in relation to their GNP, that is far higher than those of other groups:  twice that for the developing countries as a whole, more than double the average for the “severely indebted”, two-thirds more than those that are “moderately indebted.”   The infernal logic of international indebtedness is such that countries that docilely accept to settle the contractual servicing of their debt, like Tunisia and Morocco - often cited by the IMF as “good examples of what should be done, economically and financially” - not only find themselves at the same point as they were fifteen years ago, but they also lag behind in the social field.[46]    As Bichara Khader[47] has astutely pointed out:

 

Apart from these figures, what is more alarming is that debt feeds corruption, promotes ‘capital flight’ and gives rise to a ‘new social class’ whose economic strength depends on capital linked to international development and the export revenue from primary products.    Overall, the “aid” and indebtedness system has contaminated the political field which, nourished from outside, can thus survive without a social base.    

 

The EU is the main creditor of the countries south of the Mediterranean, holding 50 per cent of the debt.   There is thus nothing in the “Barcelona process” that commits the European countries in this field.

 

            Economic dependence and international indebtedness exacerbate even further the effects that the strong demographic pressure exercises on the labour market.   It is true that the countries of the southern side of the Mediterranean have started their “demographic transition” but its effects will not really be felt for at least another two decades.   During the last forty years, their populations have multiplied by 2.5, with demographic growth rates averaging 3 per cent.   This average has now dropped to less than 2.2 per cent.   But, for the time being, these countries have a considerable “demographic surplus” - over 35 per cent of the population under 15 years and only a little less than 4 per cent of the population over 60 years.    During the “Thirty GloriousYears”, Europe drew on this labour reservoir to complete its reconstruction and relaunch its growth.   This labour also helped to rejuvenate the European populations which were rapidly growing older, for from being temporary, migration became permanent through “family regrouping”.   In this win-win situation, the European countries benefited from cheap and relatively docile labour, while the countries south of the Mediterranean also benefited from having a labour market less under pressure and relatively large external resources from emigrant earnings.   This was particularly true of Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt (which “exported” its labour to the Gulf countries).  The following two tables show the extent of these migratory cycles.[48]

 

PERCENTAGE OF FOREIGNERS IN SOME EUROPEAN COUNTRIES[49]

 

Country     Foreigners as a % of         Foreigners as a % of        Active foreigners as a % of

                total population (1983)      total population (1993)         total population (1993)

 

FRANCE  

 

GERMANY

 

ITALY

 

BELGIUM

 

NETHERLANDS

 

PERCENTAGE OF FOREIGN POPULATION FROM SOUTHERN MEDITERRANEAN[50]

 

COUNTRY          TOTAL FOREIGN          ALGERIA   MOROCCO   TUNISIA   TURKEY

                            POPULATION (1993)              (%)            (%)                    (%)            (%)

 

BELGIUM

 

FRANCE

 

GERMANY

 

ITALY

 

NETHERLANDS

 

SPAIN

 

 

 

            At the end of the Thirty Glorious Years and with its economic crisis, Europe decided to slow down the migratory movement and today they talk of stopping it altogether or, rather, creating “selective” policies.[51]    It is the opposite situation in the countries south of the Mediterranean as they are more than ever before confronted by strong pressures from the younger population (born during the times of independence) who are demanding training, work and income, which the states are incapable of supplying.   It is calculated that the three Maghreb countries will see the arrival on the labour market of 2.6 million active people over the next ten years.   But the European “partners”, for various reasons - not at all in the “spirit of Barcelona” - do not seem ready to respond to the request of the southern Mediterranean countries and even make them compete with the countries of central and eastern Europe.   All the while, the migratory pressure, which is becoming stronger and stronger, has been taken over by informal and illegal circuits.   Clandestine immigration has become one of the strategic elements of Euro-Mediterranean relationships and a key issue in the Barcelona process, although it is now treated under the heading of security.

 

            To conclude this rapid survey, it might be imagined that the Barcelona process and the “consensus” on which it is built constitute a commitment to give the southern partners priority treatment.   Many who believed this are now disenchanted.   They are victims of the illusions created by the “consensus”  and sometimes of their own wishful thinking.   Now, not only do they have to face the harsh realities that this “process” is producing, but also to deal with those that the “process” has refused to acknowledge.

 

 

THE BARCELONA PROCESS

 

            The Barcelona process should be seen against a background of the changing relationships of the countries south of the Mediterranean with Europe since the independence of the former in the 1950s (and in 1962 for Algeria).    Subsequently, there has been the gradual construction of the European Union and continuing transfer of the national sovereignty of European states to the European Commission in Brussels, as well as the affirmation of the EU as a central economic pole of the Triad, together with the United States and Japan, in the current globalization movement.

 

            During a first phase, it was the bilateral relationship of the southern Mediterranean countries, particularly those in the Maghreb with France, that was the most important and it was only gradually that the “multilateral” became the rule, although it was not exclusive.   From the 1980s onwards, the public policies of the southern Mediterranean countries that had followed the “Keynesian” or “socialist” model ran out of steam and the first structural adjustment programmes, with Morocco and Tunisia, were put into operation.    But it was above all in 1992, just after the Gulf war, that the European Union, with its Renewed Mediterranean Policy, declared “its wish to develop its relationships with the Maghreb in a community framework and to integrate them into a broader space, the Mediterranean”.   

 

The economic orientation is evident:  the EU wanted, through increased liberalization, to harmonize its trade in the framework of a globalized economy  and the new trends towards regionalization.    A few years later in 1995, just after the Oslo agreements, the EU organized a Euro-Mediterranean conference in Barcelona, which started the Barcelona process.   Under three headings - political and security;  economic and financial; and social and cultural - as well as measures taken to create the “partnership”, the relationships of the European Union with the countries south of the Mediterreanean fell squarely within the EU project to create a free trade zone.   This was to be unfeignedly in the spirit of the liberalism that has been in fashion since the 1980s, and in close co-operation with the Bretton Woods institutions.    Article 2 of the EU Council regulation, which concerns the organization of MEDA (accompanying financial and technical measures) emphasizes this most strongly:  

 

The country concerned must undertake a reform programme in agreement with the Bretton Woods institutions, or implement programmes that are recognized as being similar, in concertation with these institutions, but not necessarily financially supported by them, in function of the scope and effectiveness of the reforms at the macro-economic level.

 

It is indeed the MEDA programme which has the responsibility to implement the economic and financial strategy.

 

Five years have passed and it is possible to draw up a first balance sheet of the process.   Here, too, many of the “well-intentioned” are unsatisfied and consider this balance sheet as disappointing, with some even speaking of failure.   As A. Dahmani has observed: 

 

The fourth Euro-Mediterranean ministerial conference (15-16 November 2000) almost never took place.   There were two main reasons: the deterioration of the situation in Palestine and the unsatisfactory results of the Euro-Mediterranean “partnership”, recognized by the European Commission itself.[52]

 

            Nevertheless, as regards the long-term objectives being pursued by the Union, the acceleration of structural adjustment reforms and various contributions to economic transition, the results are not negligible.    It is true that only 26 per cent[53] of the credits allocated by the MEDA programme have been used, but the last states, which had hitherto been recalcitrant like Algeria and Syria, ended up by signing the association agreements.    All in all, of the credits that have been used, almost 70 per cent of them are linked to structural adjustment programmes or contribute towards the economic transition.   (For more details about Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt, consult the Annexes at the end of this book.)   For example, as far as Egypt is concerned, the EU evaluation report notes with satisfaction:  

 

The support given to the industrial modernization programme of Egypt has received the largest amount committed by the EU to any individual project in the framework of the Mediterranean partnership.   The PMI (small and medium-sized industries), conceived within the Government’s programme of economic liberalization, aim at promoting growth and industrial competitiveness in the private sector and at creating a sufficiently sound economic base to enable Egypt to play a major role in the Mediterranean free trade zone, which is planned for 2010. … The PMI aims at helping Egypt to achieve its economic transition from a planned economy to a market economy.[54]   

 

The same self-satisfaction is shown in connection with Tunisia: 

 

Tunisia is engaged in an ambitious programme of economic reforms.  The first structural adjustment facility (FAS I) of 100 million euros was achieved with the disbursement of the second instalment of 60 million euros in 1998.   The new programme (FAS II) of 80 million euros was elaborated together with the World Bank and received favourably by the Med Committee in December 1998.    The emphasis of the programme has been on continuing privatization and the disengagement of the state, the cleaning up of the financial sector and the reform of secondary and higher education.”[55]

 

            For Tunisia, the MEDA has pledged to support the sectoral structural adjustment programme in the field of health and more specifically, health insurance, for which  the World Bank had already released a loan of $50 million.

 

            In all the southern Mediterranean countries the Barcelona process is accelerating the privatization programmes by financially supporting small and medium-sized industries and enterprises and giving them technical training.   The Euromed “decision-makers” are satisfied, despite an increasing number of warnings.   Already in 1998, the Centre marocain de conjoncture (CMC) remarked:  

 

The effects of the free trade zone on our industrial structure and the calculation of its net advantages for the Moroccan economy vary according to sector, the degree of opening and their level of competitiveness.   The agreement affects more than 50 per cent of Moroccan imports, in particular shoes, clothes and textiles, food products and drinks …The removal of protection will prevent or at least render more difficult the creation of enterprises that are unable to overcome the barriers to entry.   There is not only fear of industries disappearing but also of the impossibility of creating new ones. … But it should be recalled that the financial support of the EU is above all aimed at ensuring a Moroccan market for products made in Europe and to enable the Moroccan market to continue reimbursing the interest on its external debt.

 

            The comments of the CMC analysts are shared by most of the observers whose perspicacity has not been impaired by the “Barcelona Consensus”.   We know very well, as Bichara Khader has pointed out,

 

that the macro-economic effects will not all be positive - quite the contrary … For Morocco, it is estimated that in twelve years there will have been a loss of almost 3 per cent of the GDP with the collapse of customs revenue …, while 30 to 40 per cent of the Moroccan enterprises could disappear.[56]    

 

As for Tunisia, the loss of fiscal revenue could amount to 6 per cent of the GDP and there, too, small enterprises unable to survive international competition will disappear.   It is indeed these little artisanal and family-based businesses that will be most severely affected by the free trade zone.    It is a fact that firms with less than 10 employees constitute 95 per cent of the enterprises in Egypt, 93 per cent in Jordan, 88 per cent in Lebanon[57] and it is they that create most of the jobs.     As we have noted with NAFTA, the customs policy changes in Mexico and the lowering of internal prices have destroyed the artisanal social organization, particularly of the peasants, which has led to a huge migration towards the great cities and particularly to the US frontier where the maquiladoras are concentrated.  

 

For Morocco, MEDA plans financing a project - a highway on the nothern coast - for 80 million euro, with the idea of attracting the under-employed so they will be less tempted to emigrate to Europe.   This region, incidentally, is where most of the kif is grown, a drug sold on the European market.   All the Arab countries south of the Mediterranean are confronted by the same conundrum: reform means privatization, but the opening of their frontiers will eventually bring about the disappearance of thousands of small private businesses, in spite of their “multi-functional” character - so dear to the European defenders of the Common Agricultural Policy.

 

            So we come to foreign investment, for which the Barcelona process envisages very complex incentives, particularly interest bonuses and many guarantees.   There is even talk of a Euro-Mediterranean agreement on investment, similar to that of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), giving investors guarantees on the security of their activities in case of changes in legislation.   MEDA and the European Investment Bank are responsible for this issue. 

 

Unfortunately, however, this famous DFI (direct foreign investment) is not materializing - even from the European countries themselves.   This investment is, indeed, 8 times less than the US investment in Mexico and 15 times less than the Japanese investment in South-East Asia!    It has been calculated that for Mexico, which received $71 billion in DFI between 1994 and 1999, half of the three million jobs created since then are due to DFI, of which 60 per cent comes from the United States.   This compares with the investment from France and Germany - considered the economic pillars of Euromed - in the main Arab countries south of the Mediterranean accounted, in 1999, for no more than 1 per cent of all their foreign commitments.    In 1999, the twelve southern Mediterranean countries only attracted 2 per cent of the foreign investments of the 15 countries of the European Union.    Paradoxically, their derisory share - around 4 per cent - in the FBCF (??) of the countries concerned continues to drop, in spite of the Barcelona process.   In 1993 their share had stood at 7 per cent.

 

            Other studies[58] have also emphasized the “polarizing” effects of these investments:  Israel alone benefitted from 50 per cent of the European capital invested in the region, followed by Turkey.   The rest is shared between Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt.   And it is concentrated on the most profit-making sectors, like off-shore industrial activities such as textiles and leather goods, mechanical and electrical industries and the energy sector, which attracts the largest proportion of capital (around 80 per cent).    In most of these cases, “these investments do not represent an increase in productive capacity, at a process of capital accumulation as had been the case in the earlier period.   The specialization in the national territories is increasingly the result of the decision of the multinationals in placing their activities”.[59]   

 

But was this not the completely logical consequence of the reforms that had been implemented?   Is there not a certain naïveté in expecting, as the consensus of Barcelona had made some believe, that “private investment could take over from the state in the process of developing the country, a job that should also be included in the strategy of industrial and financial multinational groups, whose role is being reinforced by globalization”[60]?

 

            But evidence shows that privatization, because it motivated by profit, cannot substitute for the regulation that is concerned with broader objectives, such as the “general interest” of the community, nation, region, province, etc. Latin America has clearly shown over a long period the disastrous results that follow from such substitution.  Mexican privatization, for example, has been carried out very hastily and in 1993 there were only 221 enterprises left out of the 1,155 listed in 1983.  In the meantime, the national debt had reached $ 147 billion, the economic and social situation of a large part of the population remained precarious and the country had become heavily dependent on the United States.[61]   Whereas in Asian countries, particularly China, all observers have noted the central role of the state in conducting privatization.   Here, the creation of private enterprises, undertaken mostly through the savings of the diaspora, has not come about through a “dismantling of the public sector”, but in addition to it.

 

            It is true that in the Arab states today, their excesses and their failures to carry out their own development policies have created a profound “disenchantment” among public opinion and this has led to new illusions and expectations placed, this time, in “privatization”.    The Barcelona consensus has cleverly played on this feeling of rejection of “statism”, particularly among the elites, to construct its discourse and legitimize its action.   But above all, as can be seen elsewhere, privatization has usually consisted of selling off public assets as in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.   Privatization thus appears less as a policy that creates new enterprises that enrich the economy - especially industrial - of a country, than a “sharing out” - by whom and how? - of public property.    All this, obviously, is encouraged and financially supported by the Barcelona process.

 

            Thousands of small family and artisanal private businesses threatened with closure, direct foreign investment that is not materializing, a national private sector which is developing by “cannibalizing” the old public sector:  these are the main characteristics of the first phase of the Barcelona process and the few corrections included in the second phase have not substantially changed the situation.   The privatization movement of the public sector is continuing and now affects all sectors of activity - trade and finance, of course, but also education, health, and soon the basic infrastructures that the commodification logic requires bringing up to standard.[62]

The overcrowded “public” schools are being overtaken by private institutions in which the new middle classes are beginning to invest.

 

The process starts at the top, with the management institutes and skill centres and it will eventually cover secondary and primary schools.   In Egypt there are now six national private universities and everywhere the public educational system is collapsing under demographic pressure and reduced budgets.   There is even a drop in school attendance and also in the quality of training, followed by the reduction in teachers’ salaries.   Public policy in this sector, remodelled by the new culture, has gradually abandoned the aims of the social state: the “democratization” of education, which is very costly is not considered useful.   What is necessary is a more effective, elitist training.    The discourse corresponds to the gaps that are widening between a minority of haves and the great majority of the popular classes for whom there is no question of making any unproductive outlays that will increase the budget deficit.    Besides, part of the grassroots training can be carried out by NGOs, for whom the international funding agencies, led by the World Bank, have envisaged a slot in their “war against poverty” programmes.  

 

Euromed has allocated part of its funds to the “maintenance of social cohesion”, but this also provides an unexpected opportunity for the religious associations to launch into these activities.   The gradual disengagement of the state in this sector had started well before the Barcelona process, notably in Morocco, Lebanon and Jordan.   In Egypt, it was part of the whole infitah policy initiated by President Sadat.   In Algeria, it started later, in the 1980s, and the policy is still more cautious than elsewhere, as social resistance is stronger.   But increasingly everywhere, access to a good, continuing education is being restricted:  it takes up a larger proportion of the family budget than those with low incomes cannot afford.  

 

This “two tier” schooling that the World Bank strategists have made general throughout the southern countries of the Mediterranean combines with a two-tier health system, like the one that the MEDA programme is planning for Tunisia.   Overcrowded public hospitals are being bypassed by private “multifunctional clinics” that offer better quality services to those who can afford to pay.  There, too, the NGOs and religious associations find they have a role, under the more or less neutral regard of the public authorities, who thus discharge their political obligations more cheaply.

 

            This privatization process has its “social costs” that are as yet difficult to measure.  In certain countries, diseases thought to have been eradicated, like tuberculosis and malaria, have reappeared, but the dismantling of public prevention structures make it difficult, if not impossible to follow the new endemic diseases.   It is in this sector that the collapse of the “social state”, inherited from the anticolonial and developmentalist culture, is most evident.   In the agenda of the Barcelona process, it is for these “collateral” effects of the reform that 30 to 40 per cent of the MEDA budget have been allocated, under the heading “reinforcing social harmony”.  

 

In the third sector of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, a large part of the action is left to “civil society”:  thousands of humanitarian NGOs have been formed in different countries and their activities are bringing profound changes in the forms of “social intervention” in the Arab countries.   As a result, the figures of the political militant or the trade unionist have lost out and the middle classes have lost relative interest in the political field in its narrower sense, which is shown by their indifference, sometimes contempt for the whole political class.  This has also led to widespread demobilization.    The economic and social disengagement of the state has therefore resulted in a contraction of the political field, which has been abandoned by “civil society” to clan struggles for power, as well as to Islamic activism.

 

4. The real issues at stake in the Euro-Mediterranean project

 

            During our investigation, we were more and more perplexed about the declared issues of the Barcelona process, both on the part of the EU and on that of the countries south of the Mediterranean.    In fact, as compared with Mexico vis-à-vis the United States and Canada, the southern Mediterranean countries play a relatively small role in the general economy of the European Union.  According to the previsions the EU is more interested in engaging in central and eastern Europe for carrying out its global strategy and maintaining its position as a leading regional pole for globalization.   The direct foreign investment that flows into the two different regions clearly illustrates the preference of European investors for central and eastern Europe, particularly as concerns the oil and gas industry.   This is a perfect illustration of the anticipated meagre results of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership.

 

Some “critical” analysts of the Barcelona process think that the European strategy is to transform the countries south of the Mediterranean into a huge market for European trade, but that is only a partial aim. This market will always be restricted and it will not grow much larger than the present 3 to 4 per cent of European external trade.    Thus it is quite illusory to expect that the Barcelona process will produce more than it has already “given”:  that is, a profound restructuring of the Arab economies and societies, according to the logic of the Bretton Woods institutions, with only a little less brutality than their policies in the African countries south of the Sahara.    It is no exaggeration to say that the southern Mediterranean countries will become, in the future free trade zone, a marginalized sub-region, heavily dependent on the European Union but also much less developed than its counterparts in the North American and South East Asian free trade zones. As far as we can see the interest of the EU in the countries south of the Mediterranean lies elsewhere.

 

            Unfortunately, apart from the relatively small economic interest that the EU has in the countries south of the Mediterranean, the latter find themselves in a most strategic position for the future of the European Union - at least in the present regional and global configuration.     This is because of the importance for the Europeans of the immigration issue, as well as of the Israel-Palestinian and Israel-Arab conflicts.    The two questions are deeply intertwined, as we shall see later on, even if their causes are very different.    It is this position that makes them obligatory “partners” of the European states and which, according to us, largely justifies the laborious construction of the Barcelona process and the interest the EU is taking in the countries south of the Mediterranean.   The events of 11 September have, indeed, greatly contributed to reinforcing this position.

 

IMMIGRATION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES

 

            At the present moment in the EU there are nearly 18 million of “non-nationals”[63] out of 370 million inhabitants - in other words 5 per cent of the total population.   Two-thirds are concentrated in three countries:  France, Germany and the United Kingdom.  Most of them are long-term residents (living there for over ten years).   The immigrants mainly come from Turkey (especially in Germany) and from the Maghreb - Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia (especially in France and Spain).   Compared with the United States and even other African and Asian countries that receive many more foreigners, Europe is considered to be much more “closed” to immigration.   These immigrants are “workers”, they are between 25 and 60 years of age (60 per cent) and most of them are engaged in “CDE” (demanding, dangerous and dirty activities), for which, in terms of work, salaries and availability, employers do not want nationals who are claim too much and are protected by unions - and who very often refuse such jobs.

 

            The tradition of immigrant labour goes back to the period of European reconstruction and of the “Thirty Glorious Years.”    It is now recognized that the service that this labour has rendered Europe has been incalculable,  making up for its post-war demographic deficit  by filling the least well-paid jobs in construction, public works, steelworks and as skilled labour in mechanical construction factories.     As from the 1980s, however, Europe gradually closed its borders to this type of immigration.  Meanwhile, the law on regrouping families greatly changed the “style” of living of the immigrants and their families, who settled down in the banlieux of the large cities and sent their children to school.   This increasingly had an impact on the cultural and political character of European societies.   The rightwing and extreme right have found fertile soil, working on the stereotypes of the European collective imagination to mobilize voters in depressing electoral campaigns, incapable of raising any other issues than security.    But this gradual closing of the frontiers, which have now become almost watertight, coincides for the Arab countries south of the Mediterranean and Turkey, with the arrival on the labour market of a large part of their populations (in 1995, almost 60 per cent of the population between 15 and 64 years).    And this population, in its turn, is confronted by unemployment rates of 30 per cent, thanks to liberalization.   Emigration, including the clandestine variety, remains for a large majority, the only way to salvation.

 

            The demographic decline of Europe (falling birthrate and ageing population) is going to accentuate its labour requirements if it is to maintain its growth but also to keep a relative balance between those in active work and the financing of pensions.   Who is going to pay our pensions, if not the new immigrants? is being asked on all sides.   A report from the population division of the United Nations in 2000 even tried to quantify these needs, which would be around 700 million in the next 50 years!    That would mean, for France alone, an average of 1.7 million new immigrants each year.   These figures cannot be verified, but labour requirements are now being publicly announced, even by those who resisted them, like the former Prime Minister Alain Juppé, notorious for having forcefully evacuated the church of St. Bernard in 1995 when it was sheltering people without legal documents (sans papiers).   Today this same politician declares:  “Given the evolution of people’s mentalities and taking its demography into acount, Europe is going to need foreign labour.”[64]

 

            The demand for work in Northern Europe and the offer of work in the Southern Mediterranean thus match perfectly and one might have thought that this opportunity would reinforce the solidarity so often proclaimed in the Barcelona  process.     This is not the case at all.   On the contrary, we are seeing the establishment of a Fortress Europe, with an impressive arsenal of administrative and police arrangements and regulations which are to ensure the watertightness of the European frontiers.    The European security services are undergoing a huge expansion, with the reinforcement of the powers of customs and police officers, the creation of a European judicial area, harmonization of the Schengen procedures, the weakening of controls over expulsion, increasing difficulties in obtaining visas, etc.[65]

 

            The gradual transfer of the immigration issue into the field of internal (national) and regional (European) security is significant.   It has been forcefully denounced by human rights associations and some militant politicians but the security drift seems ineluctable.   Apart from the important role that the immigrant question  plays in electoral campaigns - which partly explains the derailment of the left political parties on this issue - immigration presents two kinds of problems for the European Union, which is still in construction.   At the economic and social level, the question cannot be avoided:   Europe needs labour, but it does not want uncontrolled immigration that risks becoming permanent.    It wants an “immigrant labour force” but not an “immigrant society”, i.e. one that cannot, or only with difficulty, be integrated[66] culturally and politically.   The old immigration policies must thus change and on all sides we hear about “selective immigration,”[67] “quotas”, seasonal contracts, etc.   The evident requirements of the European economies are in fact in complete contradiction with the “ethnic” and political needs of European societies.[68]

 

            Since 11 September this contradiction has become still more acute.  Clandestine immigration, having been already “criminalized”, the new anti-terrorist laws, adopted or in the process of being adopted, dramatize the question.  The southern Mediterranean countries, chief source of this labour which is overwhelmingly Muslim, give the impression of being, paradoxically, the source for renewing the European labour force, at the same time as being zones of “endemic terrorism.”    Controlling the flow of labour, as could be done with any other commodity (it is called “quality control”), thus become a multifaceted strategic issue - related to economics, of course, but also to culture, society and, finally, security.  

 

However,  as Marx has already observed, the worker is a social being that must not be confused with the product that he sells, his labour force.   Hence the European Union, in its infinite need to control everything, has an absolute necessity to “involve” the southern Mediterranean states, especially the Arab ones.   And it is according to their readiness to co-operate in this question (see above) that they will be evaluated and recompensed.    For who would be better placed to make a first selection than these state administrations:  in terms of skills, but also in making a “psychological” and political control of the candidates?   Especially as their administrations and police, less pestered than their European counterparts by “human rights” associations, can carry out more effective controls at the neighbourhood level, thus sparing the EU officials the inconvenience of removing people and the more delicate “infringement of liberties” that the European laws do not so easily tolerate.

 

            In our view, it is this, the hidden face of the “Euro-Mediterranean partnership”, that gives the full meaning of the “dialogue and co-operation” that was so greatly expected for the first plank of the process, i.e. its security and political aspects.

 

Israel, Palestine, Arab world: a conflict in Europe

 

            The drift of immigration towards becoming a security issue is clearly strongly linked to the Israel-Palestine conflict - and now, more than ever before.   Since 11 September, but even before, whem Sharon came to power and there were daily bombardments of Palestinian towns by the Israeli army, the “European common security policy” has revealed its powerlessness and contradictions.   More than ever, the strategy announced so ceremoniously and implemented in the Barcelona process, seems to have been a delayed reaction to this important question and the urgent need to resolve it.  

 

It is true that the EU cannot be a rival to the United States in treating this conflict.    And the choice of “Mediterranean partners” rather than “Arab partners” should also be interpreted in this voluntary limitation of its international political role.[69]     Thus the strategy defined in the Barcelona consensus appears as it really is: the small part conceded to it by the United States.   In other words, it is an illusion that it is possible to treat the integration of Israel into the future free trade zone “through the economy”, while “dialogue” with Israel is, according to Bistolfi, “banking on a lasting abandonment of the Arab world in order to forcibly impose - with American support - its military and economic hegemony in the Near East.”[70]

 

            But there is a reasoning behind this “squaring of the circle”.   Israel, being incapable of intervening politically in settling the conflict in spite of its economic and military power, believes that through this low-key strategy it can diminish the intensity of the conflict and, in any case and at all costs, avoid being moved away  from the European field by its consequences.    With their large Arab and Muslim immigration populations, who have kept strong ties with their countries of origin, the big European cities, also aware of the flagrant injustices inflicted on the Palestinian people, find themselves, willy-nilly, involved in the conflict.   The young children of immigrants, born in Europe and who sometimes have European nationality, do not have the “modest” behaviour of their elders.    There has even been, as in their countries of origin but for different reasons, a strong attraction towards religious practices and Muslim culture in adolescent circles in the neighbourhoods.  

 

Some analysts have also shown that, compared with the effects of the Gulf War on the European Muslim communities, the second Intifada, exacerbated by the Israeli atrocities and aggravated by the events of 11 September, has very deeply influenced the young immigrants in European cities.   But, rather than settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - which the American strategy forbids them to do - and thus make it much easier to treat its effects in Europe, the EU Mediterranean strategy appears superficial, reacting to symptoms rather than to causes and, in order to do so, requiring the intervention of states and the civil societies of the southern Mediterranean countries.    They believe that, through joint meetings, conferences, Mediterranean forums and juridical constraints created by the association agreements, adversaries can be transformed into partners - or at least they can make people believe that it is possible.

 

            Involving the Arab states of the southern Mediterranean countries is hence of vital importance,  getting them to “trade” with Israel, to establish economic, diplomatic and NGO contacts, to bring together intellectuals and businessmen in common forums.   These are the measures that have been implemented, with high visibility, by the European strategists but they are conceived more to ward off realities than to face them frontally.    They also count on time, the long-term time of economics that eases conflicts and ends by extinguishing them - as had been done, people were given to believe, by the Oslo agreements.

 

            The Arab countries accept to play the game because they have been promoted to the rank of “partners”.  But it also enables them to blame the “Euromed constraints” for the alignment which they themselves, in spite of the lack of political commitment and the political demobilization of Arab societies, are unable to impose on their own public opinion.

 

 

5. The Barcelona compromise

 

            In his excellent article,[71] Robert Bistolfi ponders on the “virtuality” of the Euro-Mediterranean project and analyzes very subtly the illusions it conveys.   Carrying his analysis still further, we may pose the question whether the states on both sides of the Mediterranean, particularly the southern states, are not dupes of the virtuality of their projec?  Are they not aware of the non-correlation between the discourse on partnership and the tough realities of dependence, the predictable marginalization of their societies, and the impossibility of settling the Palestinian question by the measures proposed?    Certainly, politics are cynical, but that is not quite enough to explain their position .    Our hypothesis is that the political leaders and dominant classes of the southern states of the Mediterranean no longer have the legitimacy to govern their respective societies.   By displacing their own responsibilities on the “external factors” responsible for the constraints created by globalization, the necessities of partnership and the opening up of the economy, they can avoid the task of constructing a popular consensus on policies that would call into question their own hold on power.    The “constraints” of globalization and of the “partnership” of Europe are thus cleverly utilized by the local leaders who emphasize their inevitability (“nothing can be done”, “it’s this or going backwards”, etc.).  They assert their own legitimacy as simple “managers” of the economic opening up imposed from outside.   This gives rise to ambiguity, compromises and attempts at ideological manipulation.   Leftwing intellectuals and political militants analyze and denounce the current forms of neoliberal globalization and see the Barcelona process as part of it.  But these people can be utilized - and often are - by these same “managers”, who cunningly adopt their counter-discourse to present themselves to public opinion as being “forced” to comply with them

            This legitimacy has the support of European and global institutions, who seize on the opportunity to evaluate it according to the “good governance” criteria, established by themselves.   Opening up the economy, privatization, etc. are presented as the prerequisites of modernization which will make democratization possible.   The leaders who embark on this path are protected by external institutions whose support seems more important than those of internal social and political forces.   The Arab leaders cleverly play on these two discourses to justify their action:  Samir Amin amusingly makes the point that they are the “Mamelukes” of our time.   With this model, the authoritarianism of governments is allowed, on the sole condition that they comply with the injunction to open their markets.    Thus we have a totally original situation, political authoritarianism coupled with an economic liberalism that enjoys the support of the “democratic” Western states.     This model also has the “virtue” of accentuating national, or rather, nationalist rivalries between the countries on the southern side of the Mediterranean, thus making autocentric regional dynamics still more difficult.   

 

Morocco is put into competition with Tunisia, the Maghreb with the Mashrek (eastern Arab states, starting with Egypt).   For what counts with the local leaders is to negotiate “better” contracts than those of their neighbours.   The European states are mainly concerned that the southern Mediterranean countries fully adhere to the implementation process and that they involve the “useful” sectors of their society, particularly the middle classes for which they have fabricated a political and cultural category corresponding perfectly to what they call the civil society.    Requirements that have since become conditionalities are further formulated by the EU states to push local authorities into respecting the freedom of association, of the press, multi-partyism, etc.    Samir Amin has cleverly analyzed the emergence of NGOs and the political issues that this entails[72]  in the societies of the Arab world, particularly in Egypt.   For Algeria, recent statistics show that, over the last few years, some 36,000 NGOs have been created which is almost as many as the 40,000 “import-export” businesses set up after the dismantling of state monopoly over external trade.  In fact, the institutionalization of these new political and civil roles is not enough to explain their rapid adoption by the actors concerned and the infatuation that it has created, according to country and period, for fashions in language and behaviour.

 

            For the political leaders, privatization has mainly consisted in the dismantling of the public sector for the benefit of those in power.   According to the historical development of each country, the sharing is divided more or less “equitably” between the dominant families, groups, cliques and clans and is quite consistently carried out according to existing hierarchies, visible or invisible.   Political power thus becomes deeply entrenched with “business” in Algeria, where people talk of the political and financial mafia. In Egypt it is the “Fardi” sector - but everywhere the process is the same.   It is the holders of power who help themselves first.    In some cases they do not hesitate to eliminate those who resist: in Algeria hundreds of middle-level management state employees have thus been imprisoned and sometimes physically eliminated.  

 

The EU states and the Bretton Woods institutions, who are taking all precautions for their own interests do not interfere.   Reform follows its course, the public sectors are privatized, states gradually withdraw from commercial activities or from “trading”:  what is essential is to carry the process out to the end, thus making it “irreversible” and all the while linking it with the famous civil society which will “whitewash” its more sinister aspects.  

 

The Barcelona process is also a process of large-scale “corruption” of political leaders who are expected to commit themselves more thoroughly to neoliberalism, signing association agreements, getting them adopted by parliaments and obliging the whole techno-structure to implement them.    Later on, as hushed voices say in the corridors of the European Commission, the new owners, who are incompetent and lazy, will sell out.   In any case, the main obstacle to the reform has been removed, more easily than was anticipated.   The old ideological antagonists have taken no action: economic interests have prevailed and once again capitalism shows that it functions best without ideology. 

 

            However, while the middle classes - or, at least, a section of them - and the ruling classes have got their cut out of the deal - obviously these are social categories and not individuals - what about the popular classes whom the reforms in progress can only “push towards the bottom”?   The new Euro-Mediterranean policy makes it impossible to escape, except on an individual basis, from an irresistible and continuous deterioration of their living standards.    As there is no precise data about the forms of resistance they can undertake to arrest the present trends, any conjectures must remain speculative.   

 

For the time being, the weak “alternative” movements, trade unions and democratic associations, are confined in their actions to intellectual and university circles.   What mobilization exists is mostly organized by humanitarian and religious associations.    Sometimes, as in Algeria, there is a growing tendency for groups in villages or even small towns to set up bodies to monitor public expenditure, the distribution of social housing or European aid money.   In Morocco, the associations of the “young unemployed graduates” intervene in the public recruitment process and act as self-help unions.   In Tunisia, the internet has enabled associations defending human rights to distribute information on the atrocities of the security forces, as well as the corruption accompanying the economic reform process.   It is however difficult, at the moment, to see any way out of this closed, conflictual structure unless a regional dynamic links up with the international movements that are resisting globalization.                    

 

 



[1] After The Age of Revolution, The Age of Capital and The Age of Empire, Eric Hobsbawm completes his work with The Age of Extremes in which a paints a comprehensive, fascinating picture of what he calls this “short twentieth century”, the end of which is symbolically marked by the fall of the “Berlin wall” and which, far from announcing some “end of history”, opens up a new period of uncertainty 

[2] These intellectuals are in no way “free thinkers” acting within the cultural superstructure, motivated mainly by the development of their ideas.   As Keith Dixon, in his short but incisive historical study has shown, “think tanks” have been formed and educated in institutions created for this purpose by groups of capitalist interests in the West.   They are supported in their tasks by prestigious training centres and their ideas are relayed by the vast international media.    The whole thing seems to be a completely coherent system of production and distribution of the “glorious future” which is called, for the present cycle of capitalism, globalization.   See:  Keith Dixon: Les Evangelistes du marché, Liber.  Raison d’Agir, Paris, 1998.   See also an excellent number of the journal Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales: “Les ruses de la raison imperialiste”.   Seuil, Paris, March 1998.

[3] As Pierre Bourdieu has remarked:  “The notion of globalization, which has so many meanings, has the effect, if not the function of imposing, in a kind of cultural œcumenism, the economic fatalism of the effects of imperialism and to make it seem that transnational relationships are a natural necessity.”   In Actes de la Recherches en Sciences Sociales,  No. 121-122, p. 110. Seuil, Paris,   [date ?]

[4] Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation, Beacon Press, Boston, 1944

[5] Eric Hobsbawm’s The Age of Extremes is an impassioned account of this world competition between two systems.   But, as the author notes, it is paradoxically the capitalist societies that draw the greatest social benefits from this competition.

[6] See the detailed study made by Manuel Castells in La société en réseau, Fayard, Paris, 1998, p. 94

[7] Manuel Castells, op.cit., p. 22

[8] The French historian François Braudel set out to reconstruct the main lines of the capitalist history of the world

[9] Manuel Castells, op.cit., p. ?

[10] Pierre Bourdieu, Contre-Feux.  Raisons d’Agir, Paris, 1998. p. 67.

[11] “The polarization of the ‘classic’ era,” observes Samir Amin, “was virtually synonymous with the contrast between industrialized and non-industrialized countries.   The monopoly of the centres, through which unequal accumulation was reproduced and deepened at the world level, was accomplished through industrialization…The polarization which is now at work in the world system is no longer based on the industrial monopoly of the centres alone.   The more important peripheries have also, in their turn, entered into the industrial era (although Africa has not really done so).   Rather than the old industrial monopoly, there is now what I would call the ‘five monopolies’ of the centres:  technological initiative, access to the planet’s natural resources, control of globalized finance, communications, armaments of massive destruction.   Taken all together, these five monopolies define the form and new content of the globalized law of value on the basis of which accumulation at the world level reproduces and deepens the polarization.”  (Source?)

[12] During the “European Days for the Territorial Representatives of the State”, which were held in Paris in 1999, the workshop on the “State representatives when faced by crises” discussed clandestine immigration, which was felt to be a “worrying potential source of crisis.”    The final report read:  “It is worth mentioning an issue that has already created serious difficulties for many Europeans and will continue to do so:  clandestine immigration.    All European countries may fear the consequences… Regulating immigration, the social integration of immigrants, development assistance and the struggle against the gangs who organize clandestine entry are all serious challenges for the European Union…It is essential to be prepared for crisis situations.    Public officials and their teams should be trained for action and how to behave effectively before, during and after a crisis.”   See IHSE [what is this?], La Documentation française, Paris, 1999.

[13] Commentators agree on the present “paradox” of the “globalization” movement.   While modern means of transport continue to develop, the number of reception centres for international immigrants has diminished:  apart from the port and frontier regions, the big cities are served by this transport (?)  The result, in developed countries, is that the migratory flows tend to concentrate, thus reinforcing the impression that the phenomenon is rapidly expanding.   See Sciences Humaines, occasional paper No. 8, March 1995.  Paris.

[14] Annual Report of the MEDA Programme, 1999.   Commission of the European Communities (?) Brussels, 2000, p. 3 (what about English version?)

[15] Chris Patten, “Barcelona, Five Years Later” (English edition?)

[16] Chris Patten, op. cit., p. 7                                                          

[17] Chris Patten, op.cit., p. 9                                                           

[18] Agnès  Chevalier: “Projet euro-méditerranéen et mondialisation” in Confluences No. 21, Spring, 1997.

[19] : Towards a new form of Euro-Mediterranean partnership. Institut Català de la Mediterrànià Barcelona, 1995, p. 285.  (English version?)

[20] Sébastien Sadek, in Arabies, No. 168, December 2000 (place?)

[21] A new impetus for the Barcelona process, European Commission, Brussels, September 2000 (English version?)

[22] After the adoption of the “Peace and Stability Charter” it was envisaged that these ad hoc meetings of senior official should be transformed into an institutional forum for dialogue on policy and security, and mechanisms were to be created to promote effective joint action in the fields of terrorism, conflict prevention and crisis management.    Obviously, the second Intifada outbreak and the 11 September attacks have postponed the adoption of the charter.

[23] A new impetus for the Barcelona process, op. cit. p. 15 (Eng. Version?)

[24] The National Economic and Social Councils theoretically include those responsible for economic, social and cultural institutions (business, social security agencies, hospitals, teachers, etc.), as well as representatives of the State and of personnel (trade unions).    They elaborate sectoral studies which they submit to political leaders but also to public opinion through the media, associations and trade unions.

[25] See Euromed Report No. 18, November 2000. (English version?)

[26] A new impetus for the Barcelona process, op.cit.p.13 (English version?)

[27] The Islamic charity associations did not await these new developments before intervening in society, sometimes forcefully, in Egypt.   The old tradition of foundations - habous and waqf - thus provided them with a head start over the new NGOs, which were strongly influenced by Western systems in their organization and operations.

[28] Towards a new scenario for the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, Institut Català de la Mediterrànià, p. 274 (?)   (is this the same publication as the one cited in footnote 22? English version?)

[29] A new impetus for the Barcelona process, op.cit., p. 14 (English version?)

[30] As formulated by Robert Bistolfi, whose work has already been cited.

[31] The European Union has even set up a procedure for providing expertise, the MEDA Teams, which enable its Brussels consultants to organize and manage the activities of the national delegations and thus to ensure that there is a permanent coming and going between “the field” and the “metropolitan headquarters”.

[32] As well as the Arab countries (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco) the southern Mediterranean countries include Turkey, Malta, Cyprus and Israel, the first three of which aim at being integrated into the European Union.   Israel is in a hostile and dominating position vis-à-vis the Arab countries.   These four states, because of their economic level and history, have very little in common with the Arab states.

[33] This denial goes to great lengths:  in a survey entitled “The Mediterranean space” and carried out by the Institut Català de la Mediterrànià in 1995, 1,500 questionnaires were sent by post to Euro-Mediterranean personalities representing civil society (universities, NGOs, private enterprises and public centres).   The form presented two series of questions: one, the imaginary and the representation of the Mediterranean;  two, North South relationships - conflicts and co-operation.   Languages employed were Catalan, Spanish, French and English.  No comment.

[34] The newsletter of the  CIRPES (Centre Interdisciplinaire de Recherches sur la Paix et d’Etudes stratégiques) on “The strategic debate” observed perceptively:  “The security interests of the Europeans and the Euro-Mediterranean partnership have been ill served by a strategy that creates relationships between the Union and the southern side of the Mediterranean but which is unconnected to the Oslo peace process in the Middle East, managed under American hegemony.”   No. 53, November 2000. (Paris?)

[35] We have taken these notions from Jean-Paul Sartre’s Critique de la raison dialetique.

[36] See the table at the end of the book  showing the state of the respective association agreements of the EU with its southern partners

[37] idem, p. 15 (what of?)

[38] A new impetus for the Barcelona process, p. 14 (English version?)

[39] idem, p. 16  (English version?)

[40] idem, p. 16 (English version?)

[41] Some, like the association of the young unemployed graduates in Morocco, have become strong enough to organize mass demonstrations which have made the public authorities take their demands into consideration.   In Algeria, a fair number of these young jobless people will be taking to the

maquis to join armed Islamic organizations.

[42] UNDP, 1999 Human Development Report

[43] Population et démographie dans les pays arabes,  CNEAP, Algiers, 2000

[44] Implementing the MEDA programme, European Commission, Brussels,  p.32, 1998 (or 1999?)

[45] The debt per head of the population is calculated by dividing the total debt (in 1994), according to the World Bank, by the total population (in 1993), according to the UNDP Human Development Report, 1996.

[46] Susan George, op.cit. p. 32. (No op cit at least in this chapter.  What is the title of the book?)

[47] In Le partenariat euro-méditerranéen vu du Sud, L’Harmattan, Paris, 2001, p.30

[48] Susan George, op. cit., p. 54 (No op cit in this chapter….)

[49] ?

[50] ?

[51] It is well known that the demographic decline of Europe is going to increase its needs for the immigrant labour necessary to maintain growth and socio-economic balance.   Europe will need massive immigration in order to keep its present ratio of active to inactive people at 1:2.   This figure would rise to 1:4 if immigrant flows are not increased.

[52] Ahmed Dahmani: EU/Maghreb: dépasser le libre échange, bâtir le partenariat.   Cyclostyled document.   (date?)

[53] For further details, see Annex.

[54] The MEDA  evaluation, op.cit., p. 51

[55] idem, p. 32

[56] Bichara Khader, op.cit., p. 51

[57] See “Qu’a-t-on appris de l’Aléna”, Ministère français du territoire et de l'environnement, Paris, July 2000, p. 29

[58] Ridha Gouia: “Les flux d’investissements étrangers dans les PSM” in Le partenariat euro-mediterranéen vu du Sud, op.cit. p. 99

[59] Ridha Gouia, op.cit., p. 98

[60] This is one of the conclusive points made in Ridha Gouia’s article, op.cit. p.99

[61] In the case of Mexico, a foreign investor attacked the State on environmental legislation and won the case.  The system developed by NAFTA for protecting investors enables them to question environmental protection policies established by the state.

[62] Indeed, the “future” of the new free trade zone can already be read in the recent history of Latin America.   Since 20 (what, is this a date???), “privatization in South America has progressed  alarmingly, spreading into all sectors, especially those linked to the public services.   In Bolivia, few sectors have escaped it: electricity, trains, air transport have been sold off cheaply under pressure from the international financial institutions.   The distribution of drinking water and sanitation have also undergone management change towards the private.”    In Grains de sable, Courrier d’information d’Attac, No. 289, December 2001.   The strategists of the European Union envisage, for the countries south of the Mediterranean, a convention on water - a rare resource in this region - that would end up by being managed by private companies, particularly European ones.   Under the influence of the World Bank and the IMF as well as the Barcelona consensus, the political classes and trade unions in these countries have abdicated their power and accepted the inexorable need to allow private companies (Vivendi, La Lyonnaise des Eaux, etc.) to take over this natural resource, from catchment area to distribution.  Negotiations are being carried out country by country, although the groundwater is “regional”.

[63] This notion is now very controversial among statisticians in European countries.   In France, for example, there is a distinction between “foreigners” and “immigrants”, in other words people born abroad some of whom have meanwhile acquired French nationality.    Among the “non-nationals”, it is necessary to distinguish immigrants from foreigners, according to the current legislation, between “territorial law” or “blood law”.

[64] Alain Morice:  “Le travail mondialisé”, Le Monde Diplomatique, November 2000.

[65] See the excellent analysis made by Didier Bigo: “L’Archipel des polices” in Le Monde Diplomatique, October 1996.

[66] As Bernard Dréano has noted:  “Parliamentarians and some intellectuals are offended by the “non-integration” of the youth of their country, without understanding that for a long time - alas - part of the youth (and not only Muslim) has undergone a real disintegration, after years of “social treatment” without a mobilization of citizens, in the cities deserted bvy the parties and trade unions.”   In Grains de Sable, Attac, December 2001.

[67] The CDU in Germany has finally accepted a “pilot limitation” project on immigration, with the aim of meeting the economic needs of Germany which is experiencing an inexorable decline in its active population.   The CSU has agreed with the CDU to propose a system of flexible quotas and criteria for selecting immigrants in function of the age and qualifications of candidates.

[68] In Greece farmers have been angry when the police arrest immigrants and asked the government to stop these round-ups.    However, they also ask the police to escort these workers personally to the frontier at the end of the harvest season.”  See Alain Morice, op. cit. 

[69] We say voluntary because, with the exception of a few states like France and Belgium, the great majority, including the United Kingdom and Berlusconi’s Italy, are in favour of the American strategy and its world leadership.

[70] Robert Bistolfi, op.cit. p.5

[71] Robert Bistolfi, “L’Europe et la Méditerranée, une entreprise virtuelle”, Confluences, No. 35, Autumn 2000, Paris.  (is this the same as previous references to Bistolfi?)

[72] Samir Amin, Etats des lieux, état des luttes (published where?   English?)

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