Maghreb -EU Relations: Prospects and Challenges
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.
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:
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.
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