Un nouvel élan pour le Maghreb

À l’heure de la promotion de la bonne gouvernance et du développement économique dans son voisinage, l’Union européenne devrait accorder une attention prioritaire au Maghreb. Les enjeux politiques, sociaux et sécuritaires sont d’une telle importance que l’Europe ne peut les ignorer. Il faudrait trouver la synergie adéquate entre les protagonistes locaux et les acteurs extérieurs pour lancer des initiatives nouvelles, pragmatiques et osées dont la région a besoin.

La situation de départ est mitigée. L’économie algérienne dépend massivement des exportations de pétrole et de gaz, l’économie marocaine est axée sur l’agriculture (dont les résultats relèvent, dans une large mesure, de la météorologie) et les revenus des émigrants, tandis que l’économie tunisienne, quant à elle, est étroitement liée aux cycles de la demande européenne et du tourisme. Une population très jeune est un défi pour les politiques éducatives et d’intégration dans le marché du travail. En outre, le contentieux autour du Sahara occidental continue de freiner une pleine normalisation des relations entre l’Algérie et le Maroc.

L’Union européenne est l’interlocuteur privilégié des pays du Maghreb, car la part du lion de leurs échanges commerciaux (plus de deux tiers) se fait avec l’Europe. Sur le plan politique, d’un côté, les rapports bilatéraux entre les pays du nord et du sud de la Méditerranée occidentale sont intenses ; de l’autre, le processus de Barcelone est un dialogue compréhensif entre l’UE et ses voisins riverains de la Méditerranée, incluant des Accords d’association. De plus, le Groupe 5 + 5 constitue un forum de débat politique : Algérie, Espagne, France, Italie, Libye, Malte, Maroc, Mauritanie, Portugal et Tunisie y participent.

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