Europe’s Southern Future

Asia revolves around ASEAN, and the Americas around NAFTA and Mercosur. Europe, too, needs to help organize a large hemispheric region, and it should start with a Euro-Mediterranean community.

PARIS – Economic crisis has now reached both shores of the Mediterranean, and the risk of a lasting depression has become very real. Austerity policies in Europe threaten to backfire, causing enduring harm to growth prospects and thus stoking unemployment and budget deficits. And southern Mediterranean countries can’t hope to make up in America and Asia the opportunities and investments that they are losing in Europe, certainly not in the short term.

In these circumstances – and especially in view of the political upheaval in the countries of the southern Mediterranean – re-launching the Euro-Mediterranean process, and putting it on a new footing, would benefit both sides.

The Barcelona Process, which Jacques Delors initiated in 1995 as head of the European Commission, had its merits, but failed to meet the expectations that it created. In 2005, on the 10th anniversary of its launch, I joined political leaders from both sides of the Mediterranean in calling for a re-formulation of the partnership through the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean community.

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