Maghreb -EU Relations: Prospects and Challenges

round table

 

4 December-2013

london, UK

 


Round Table Topics

The Maghreb countries constitute one region which is culturally, geographically and historically integrated. Yet, the Maghreb countries have largely failed to achieve “functionalintegration” particularly at the political and economic cooperation level.

Owing to its particular “un-integration” and relative underdevelopment, the Maghreb is perhaps the only area for substantial expansion of the European economies for many years to come. The Maghreb is at the moment a particularly sensitive and fragile region on the backdrop of recent dramatic developments due to the political uprisings.

For Europe, the region presents a distinctive combination of various security challenges and wide range of economic opportunities. 

Potential of Regional Integration:

Loyalty Split into many unions – Maghreb Union, Union for the Mediterranean, African Union and League of Arab States

Lack of pragmatic approach towards economic integration that would attract foreign investment and initiate new opportunities in global markets

Trade within the region is almost negligible because of low trade complementarities, uneven import protection levels across the region, non tariff barriers to trade and the lack of investment and labour mobility.

EU-Maghreb Relations

For the EU, the region presents a potential further regional integration short of the EU’s enlargement

Central and Eastern Europe countries “experience sharing process” with Maghreb countries for learning from the European experience on the democratic transition level as well as measures for economic upgrading

Cooperation in dealing with security issues.

Fragile Transition  in Tunisia and Libya:

The Tunisian and the Libyan revolutions led to the fall of the autocratic regimes and the start of new transitional era

The spread of weapons in Libya, rise of radical movements and counter-revolution in Egypt factors that threaten the stability and smooth transition of these countries into democracy

A tremendous need of support.

Morocco –Algeria Relations:

The competition over the spheres of influence in the region as well as inconclusive efforts to resolve the question of the Western Sahara dominates the relations between the two biggest countries in the region

Will relations remain overshadowed by Western Sahara Conflict?

Can both countries side-line the Western Sahara conflict in their bilateral relations and work together in building the Maghreb Union?

Further Security Threats:

Immigration waves

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb

The round table is a consultation of experts to discuss questions, look into potential scenarios and identify opportunities related into integration of the Maghreb countries.

 

Speakers

 

Andrew Wilson, Sky News Presenter -Chair

H.E. Amar Abba, Ambassador of Algeria to London

Ian Lucas, Shadow Minister for Africa and Middle East, Labour Party

H.E Mahmud Nacua, Ambassador of Libya to London

Richard Ottaway ,Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Conservative Party, UK Parliament

Susi Dennison, Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations

His Excellency Mr Nabil Ammar,Ambassador of Tunisia to London

Dr. Michael Willis ,Lecturer Fellow, St Anthony’s College, Oxford University

Mr Nasser Bourita, Permanent Secretary of the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation