Centro Studi di Politica Internazionale
For a Mediterranean territorial political cohesion:
contribution of the programme for the support of the regional
cooperation in the Mediterranean and in the Balkans (APQ)
Andrea Stocchiero e Marco Zupi
August 2012
Executive Summary ..................................................................................................................................... 3
1. Common challenges in the Mediterranean .............................................................................................. 6
1.1 Economic development and job..................................................................................................... 6
1.2 Poverty and inequality .................................................................................................................. 8
1.1 Sustainability and territorial cohesion .................................................................................... 10
2. From the Eurocentric model crisis to the Mediterranean territorial cohesion ...................................... 13
3. Some advice for a Mediterranean territorial cohesion ..................................................................... 19
Authors cooperated with Rosangela Cossidente, Karl Giacinti, Sara Hassan and Alberto Mazzali to
elaborate this document. The cooperation has been really important during the debate on general
project planning, during the preparation of preparatory notes and, in particular, during the last edit.
Executive Summary
During the last years the Mediterranean has been the setting of two exceptional and
unexpected events: on the one hand the Arab Spring and on the other hand the
European crisis that especially affects its southern countries. For the first time there is
a switch on perspectives in the Mediterranean area on a political and symbolical level:
the South is the driving force behind any new opportunity, whereas the North is
affected by the crisis, while the whole area risks a further marginalization in the global
These two events point out that common challenges have augmented with the increase of
unemployment rate, inequality, hindrance to social and territorial mobility, the crisis of
the welfare and demographic changes; environmental impoverishment in town and
country caused even by the deep impact of climate changes. Climate changes make the
administration of strategic resources and common goods, such as water, energy and earth,
more ticklish and virtually controversial.
The need of laying the foundations of an environmental sustainable territorial cohesion
policy in the Mediterranean strikingly emerges and it has to be pursued through new
models of democracy, economy and society on the different banks.
In this situation, Italian regions together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the
Ministry of Economic Development have tried out a new framework programming
agreement for the cooperation in the Mediterranean (APQ programme). The
multilevel governance and the creation of a system structured on the regional
organization and on the mobilization of territorial actors have been the two pillars that
have permitted to realise integrated projects with local partners. The interventions entered
in five thematic lines of great strategic importance in the EU-Mediterranean region:
socioeconomic development, material and immaterial interconnections, environment and
sustainable development, dialogue and culture, health service and welfare.
A series of information, that try to give an answer to the common challenges in the
Mediterranean and that are coherent with the territorial cohesion policy reported below,
have emerged from a strategic estimation of the APQ programme.
Territorial cohesion policy in the Mediterranean should help to change and improve the
current plans for cooperation in the area. First of all, the territorial dimension should be
known as a fact of reality and as a basic and transversal side of each policy, that best
answer to the challenges and especially to the building of democracy.
Its principals are: the ownership shared by the territories and the local communities, the
subsidiarity, able to concretely mobilize public and private actors in a multilevel
governance able to put supranational, national and local levels to work together; the
reciprocity, in order to overcome the Eurocentric approach and to experience new models
of human development from the territories and the local communities, enhancing the
worldwide differences with a mutual conditionality.
The strategy should be based on the mobilization and on the interchange of territorial
actors systems, through the creation of partnership among the territories of the different
banks where the regions or similar local authorities can have a direction and mobilization
role. Transnational systems, relational infrastructures that make exchanges easier, the
research of local development models apt to the different contexts and interconnected
among themselves, as well as intercultural dialogue and the foundation of more effective
democratic processes can be created. This is the reason why working on the strengthening
of the capacity of local actors to participate to human development, through the different
representative and deliberative instruments of democracy, and to give birth to
transnational platforms that facilitate the nonviolent management of local and across-theborder conflicts and to promote the mobility on a civil society level and people to people
exchanges in order to encourage the social change and the redefinition of the perception
of “the other”, are basic.
Cohesion policy should focus on 1) job, with particular attention on social and territorial
mobilization (migrations), for the reduction of inequalities and poverty; 2) welfare
systems, as regards to demographic and gender matter and to a full idea of human
development; 3) environment, with particular reference to the management of strategic
resources in rural areas and in towns; 4) democracy, as local development governance
and intercultural dialogue.
Territorial cohesion policy can deeply renew the existing institutional complexes. The
Union for the Mediterranean could increase its territorial dimension, with the
ARLEM, acting on the new models of management of strategic resources and common
goods in rural areas and in towns. New policies of shared and democratic management of
water resource, as well as energy and earth.
Concerning democracy, an organism and an expansion of civil societies able to make
its voice heard on a regional level will be thought nearby the ARLEM. The expected
European Endowment for Democracy could come with this process and have a role of
great importance in order to increase the level of the public debate and create new
participating models for human development, more careful to social equality and
environmental sustainability demands, with a territorial look more careful to the marginal
places: rural spaces and the outskirts of the cities.
In the new planning for Neighbourhood and Pre-accession, the different regional and
global instruments (facility for the civil society, thematic line for democracy and human
rights and non-state actors and local authorities, institutional technical assistance through
the Taiex, across-the-border cooperation …) should be reconsidered in order to
transversally consider the principal of subsidiarity, overcoming the sectional approach for
actors’ typologies. Territorial policies of subsidiarity about job, mobility and welfare
should have the priority, taking a human development approach.
Instruments and their projects should confront each other and put themselves
(mainstreaming) in the context of national, decentralization and territorial development
reform process and in support of strengthening process the skills of the different actors
in the Mediterranean, which there is a great need as a consequence of transformations,
transitions and underway crisis. The creation of European grouping of territorial
cooperation (EGTC) can be a new instrument able to strengthen the best networks (in this
meaning, the creation of EGTC should pass quality and ability tests). The increase and
the consolidation of networks and partnerships among territories, such as those created by
the APQ programme, should permit the verification of the creation of hypothesis about
macro regional strategies on a sub-regional level (as from the Adriatic-Ionic one)
and/or of the whole Mediterranean.
Macro regional Adriatic-Ionic perspective can be a test bench for the development of new
Mediterranean macro-regions. On this point it will be necessary to start a consideration
about the southern and northern territories and the different levels of government. This
consideration can be fostered by the ARLEM and/or by a group of regions and local
authorities, in collaboration with organizations of the civil society, particularly concerned
with the territorial cohesion.
Italian foreign policy, and especially cooperation can be propulsive (such as in the case
of the Adriatic-Ionic macro region) and can find in this context the possibility of
enhancing the small existing resources. The creation of Italy system in the Mediterranean,
as from the results of the APQ programme, can be supported through a series of
initiatives and co-financings connecting the above-mentioned institutions and European
Concerning the question about the multilateralization of the Mediterranean territorial
cohesion policy, the institutional scene of the Union for the Mediterranean constitutes the
most adequate entity in order to develop a common Mediterranean position able to
dialogue and collaborate with the emerging powers, bringing the cooperation back to the
values related to the territorial cohesion policy.
At last, the Mediterranean territorial cohesion policy line-up will be able to foster and
benefit from the debate about The aims of the millennium for the development “Beyond
2015”, that have four aspects inspired by an holistic approach in line with the needs of
the Mediterranean societies: 1) social equity; 2) comprehensive economic development;
3) environmental sustainability; 4) peace and security.
1. Common challenges in the Mediterranean.
(Marco Zupi)
Managing to combine economic development, social equity and environmental
sustainability is the strange riddle of a modern Sphinx which has to be solved today.
Beyond the heterogeneities among the three different banks overlooking the basin –
Mediterranean EU, Western Balkans and south bank countries -, the current crisis seems
to turn from the answer to the riddle and the collaboration process among countries.
Differences among countries are real and the political suggestions of the European
Commission for the planning period 2014-2020 pose again a well-tested geographical
division of two external assistance instruments (ENPI-ENI for the south bank and the
north-eastern border, and IPA-IPAII for Western Balkans which are candidates for EU
membership), in order to achieve the different aims of the markets integration and EU
membership. Two instruments differing from country to country depending on the
particular conditions and feeling the effects of the current crisis1.
Five years after the colour revolution which had affected Ukraine and Georgia and after
the huge repercussions on the whole western European area, you can see a warning about
the reappearing of authoritarianism in the Balkans2. On the contrary, the so-called Arab
Spring led to the end of three authoritarian regimes in the South of the Mediterranean (in
Tunisia, Egypt and Libya) and it is leading several countries of this area to an uncertain
concessions process for a larger political involvement.
Also the Programme for the support of regional cooperation (the so-called APQ, which is
a framework planning agreement) worked distinctly, at the same time, in the two regions.
However, the five thematic areas characterizing the APQ programme are the same for
both the sub-regions, even if they are conducted at the same time, and they correspond to
the course of action of the European policies. In addition to it, a great many of the Italian
regions involved in the programme have strengthen some partnerships with both counterparties in the Balkans and the South bank of the Mediterranean.
A way in order to look into the future of the partnership in the Mediterranean region is
just to admit that these areas share, besides the Sea, challenges and common development
The expected time to the entry of new members in the EU is longer today,
because of the adaptation weakness of some Balkan countries and of the growing
difficulty of the opportunity for the opening of the EU to include other countries.
M. Emerson (2011), “East goes Right, South goes Left”, CEPS
Commentary, 8th October.
opportunities, though their definite specificities and differences, and it is to admit that the
most urgent problems they have to face are the same.
Economic development and job
The seriousness of the economic situation in Greece and the recession in Portugal, in
Spain and in Italy are well-known and they have straight repercussions on the countries
overlooking the others banks of the Mediterranean. Concerning the Balkans, Italy and
Greece are the most commercial partners: they represent together no fewer than 20% of
the way out of the Balkan export3 . In addition to it, the chain of the migrants’ remittances
directly connects the situation of the Mediterranean EU economy with the situation of the
western Balkans and the south bank of the basin.
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit latest data, the economies of the Balkans
have been strongly affected by the crisis. In 2009 real GDP of the area dropped by an
average of 3%; the recession went on in 2010 with -0.4%; in 2011 the signs of economic
recovery were too faint (Albania +2%, Bosnia +1.2%, Croatia without any growth,
Macedonia +3%, Montenegro +2.2%, Serbia +1.6%) and it has not taken off in 2012
(Albania +0.5%, Bosnia + 0.2%, Croatia -1.1%, Macedonia+1.2%, Montenegro +0.6%,
Serbia +0.2%).
In North Africa, even if it economically depends on Europe4, the strong political
instability led to a slowdown in economic growth of the region, until getting to the point
of the recession in 20115 with an average annual rate of +0.5% (excepted Libya that
recorded -27.9%). In 2012, just small signs of recovery are remarked: +1.6% in Egypt,
2.2% in Morocco and 2.8% in Tunisia.
But concerning job, it is here that the big economic and social problem of the region is
really showed. The main problem is the lack of work. After all, worldwide an average of
three quarters of the personal revenue comes from business activities, while many public
policies, from social protection policies, are directly or indirectly connected to the job
Unemployment6 rate in Greece exceeded 23% in mid-2012 (increasing fourfold within
four years) and in Spain it reached its all-time high of 25% (in both countries youth
EIU data.
In 2011, Italy is the way out of 51.3% of whole Alban exportations, by
H. Marty-Gauquié (2012), "Retour sur la transition démocratique en
Méditerraneée: défis et réponses", Politique Internationale, N° 135.
African Development Bank (2012), African Economic Outlook 2012.
It is the percentage ratio of unemployed people to the labour force.
unemployment exceeds 51%); in Portugal it reaches 15.4% and in Italy 10.8% (in both
countries youth unemployment reaches 36%).
Recent public opinion surveys confirm that the main worry of Balkan population is job,
then health, retirement and children’s education7; much more than territorial claim, ethnic
conflicts, good governance and corruption. At the end of 2011 unemployment reached
24% in Serbia, the biggest country in the Balkan sub region (as for youth unemployment,
the percentage doubles also in this case), with an increase of 10% compared to four years
earlier; the unemployment8 rate is about 45%, that is more that 20% worse than EU
average. In textile sector, there were 160 thousand employed and in 2010 they were 40
thousand9. In the other countries there isn’t a cheering perspective: in Kosovo, one of the
poorest countries in Europe, the unemployment rate reaches 45% (youth unemployment
is 75%).
In the south bank there are economies full of work but lacking in resources (Egypt,
Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia) acting as a spur to emigrate; there are economies
full of work and resources (Algeria and Syria) and economies full of resources but
lacking in labour (Libya) pulling in the work. These are mixed but connected situations,
partly complementary as for the work, (because of the low work intensity of the oil
sector) with a structural crisis of labour market. North Africa is the region that has the
youngest people and the lowest national employment rate: in Egypt the average age is 24
years; in Tunisia it is 29 years; in Libya the half population is younger than 15 years old
and in the sub region just 47% of people in working age are employed.
As a consequence, it is the region with the highest youth unemployment rate in the world
and, according to ILO10 data, the lowest youth and women’s economic activity rate11 in
the world, which is the sign of a huge waste of talents and potentials. In this region 40
million people entered in the work market between 2000 and 2010 as new labour force, at
T. J. (2012), "Balkan economies. Mostly Miserable", The Economist, 19th
The number of unemployed people as a percentage of the labour force.
K. Udovicki, G. Knaus (2012), Mass unemployment in the Balkans: a need
to act, EU-observer.com, 14th April.
ILO (2012), Global Employment Trend 2012, Geneva.
It is the percentage of labour force (or active population, both employed
and unemployed) and population in working age.
the height between 2005 and 2010 (more than 4 million people per year) and an expected
high rank between 2010 and 2020. According to the estimates, 100 million jobs are
necessary between 2000 and 2020 in order to improve the economic situation12. Egypt
condition is symbolic: it is the biggest country in the region; 18 million were the
inhabitants in 1945, today they are more or less 85 million and they will be 111 million in
The worst thing is that even if the economic growth managed to reach high levels, it
wouldn’t recreate the lost jobs. Recession affects jobs: once they are lost, it is very
difficult to create them again. In addition to it, unemployment causes a strange
mechanism moving income distribution penalising workers, weakening the work
protection, causing conflicts, putting a growing pressure on social security and health
care. At the same time it produces less public profits, so the government possibility of
supporting the demand is reduced and it causes a decrease in production and
employment. High unemployment rate encourages crimes and black market (well-known
phenomenon in the three banks) and also social tensions. Furthermore, social tensions in
the Balkans or in North Africa can be politically exploited in order to fuel interethnic
tensions or, for the EU coast countries, in order to feed xenophobia and racism.
At the same time, seeing it from a demographic perspective on a macro-regional level,
biggest complementarities on the labour market can be found among the Mediterranean
banks, that have to be connected to networks of material or immaterial interconnections:
“old” countries and population decrease in South Europe (Italy is the first one) and in the
Balkan area (Serbian people are 41 on average, one of the oldest people in the world13)
and “young” countries in the south bank14.
Poverty and inequality
Job crisis, common to the three banks of the basin, is linked to economic development
policies that are not the same, but have a common background and an identical weak
World Bank (2004), Unlocking the Employment Potential in the Middle
East and North Africa: Towards a New Social Contract, Washington D.C.
Worldwide, the variation field is from 15 to 44.5 years old. Italy is the
leading country after Japan. Spain and Bosnia too, they have more than 40 year old on
average. Albania is the only Balkan country that has a very “young” population, in a
similar way to the south bank, where 60% of population has less than 25 years old.
T. Lukic et al. (2011), “Depopulation in the Western Balkan Countries",
European Journal of Geography, Vol. 3, N. 2.
point: the primacy of liberalisations, privatisation and deregulations and the government
giving up to an active role and to a plan of industrial policy15.
With regard to the Balkans, willing to cancel the heavy heritage of the Soviet planning,
together with the fear of bureaucracy and corruption and the confidence in foreign direct
investments (FDI) promoted, as Udovick e Knaus write (2012), the acceptance of neoliberalistic politic, strengthened thanks to international trade and international finance
Also in the south bank of the Mediterranean Sea, the value of the free market – that is the
basis of freedom and democracy – directed the same politic of European cooperation,
don’t preventing to concentrate wealth among few people, hand and glove with oligarchic
political power coming up against democracy that should increase political power of the
most became poor.
Market opening and real democracy are an impossible union where capitalism of
patronage of ruling minorities (with which FDI and international trade can increase16) is
In the region, a kind of liberalistic capitalism that doesn’t redistribute has been launched:
there was a bear competition regarding prices (which interested also Mediterranean
Europe and the salary cuts also due to the increasing number of migrants in the labour
market and the cut of the Welfare State) with the aggravating – concerning Balkans and
North Africa – that they don’t have the Welfare State.
Macroeconomic adjustments ensured the growth before the crisis (it is the case of
medium income economies, both in the Balkans and in the south bank), but without
welfare, with increasing poverty and inequalities that don’t decrease. Without a union of
redistribution wealth and welfare state in order to conform the power of the numbers
(democracy) together with ownership power and trade (capitalism), crisis can radically
The growth in the last ten years (except Italy that fell into decline a long time ago) hasn’t
improve the economic situation of the majority of people living in the worst conditions in
the area and because of the recession in the last two/three years the situation is
As for countries belonging to the Euro zone, more than for the others, it is
impossible to appeal to the monetary incentive and to the presence of strict binds in
opposition to the fiscal one; while industrial politic is superseded by an approach to the
Theoretically and empirically the most recent essay is: O. Bayulgen
(2012), Foreign Investment and Political Regimes, Cambridge University Press,
Extreme poverty is not very widespread here (extreme poverty is to live with less than
one dollar per day), but it is enough to consider five daily dollars per capita to let increase
the number of poor in the south bank and, in a different way, in the Balkans17.
The condition of the poorest people is critical in the three banks, even if it is not an
absolute poverty, and the gap among different living conditions, corresponding to
inequalities, is increasing.
In the last 20 years income inequality – measured by the Gini coefficient – has increased
in Egypt (.32), in Morocco (.41) and in Tunisia (.41), while we don’t have any data for
Algeria and Libya. Inequality has also increased in the Balkans18 and some countries such
as Italy19.
In North Africa income held by the richest 10% of the population has increased (30%);
on the contrary, income held by the poorest 10% has decreased (2-3%), such as income
held by the poorest 20% (4-6%); while the second poorest 20% has held steady. In this
region, where the majority of people are young, inequality is worsened by the
composition of the generation.
Talking about inequality means highlighting the danger of falling into poverty also for
most middle class people. There is another paradox connecting the Balkans and the south
bank: educational levels are relatively high and, concerning the south bank, they have
considerably increased during the last years among boys and especially girls, creating job
expectations and social mobility failed today. There isn’t any connection between
educational level and average salary and this situation worsens where unofficial economy
is more spread. This paradox is the cause of frustrations among the new generations and
calls some human capital and educational investments theories into question.
This is a region in which job, although necessary, doesn’t protect from poverty: the half
of the poor population in Albania has underpaid and flat productivity jobs; in the south
bank unofficial economy and underpaid job are usual20. In Bosnia it is easiest being poor
According to the most recent data from the World Bank, it concerns from
82% in Kosovo to 60% in Albania of the total population and from 8% in Bosnia to 2% in
J. El Ouardighi, R. Somun-Kapetanovic (2010), "Is Growth Pro-Poor in
the Balkan Region?", Eastern European Economics, vol. 48, N. 3.
OECD (2011), Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising, Paris.
D. F. Angel-Urdinola, K. Tanabe (2012), "Micro-Determinants of Informal
Employment in The Middle East and North Africa Region", World Bank SP Discussion
Paper, N. 1201, January.
and unemployed, but the percentage of poor employed is really high, above all
concerning self-employed workers.
If job can’t protect from poverty, pensions and welfare are a sheet anchor. However, the
spread of unofficial economy along the three banks of the Mediterranean Sea means that
many employed don’t contribute to their pension and they are not much preserved: just
46% of employed in Albania pays contributions; farmers and self-employed workers
often don’t pay contributions in Bosnia and this percentage has increased because of the
crisis, while employers declare to pay minimum wages, in order to cut the contributions
they should pay. At the same time, pension and health reforms - pressed by the World
Bank and the stand-by agreements with International Monetary Fund21 endorsed by the
EU and just thwarted by ILO – are based on a bigger privatization (and an outsourcing of
health service) and on a partial covering of costs through rates, cut in costs and a better
efficiency22. However, recent studies show that selective kinds of social assistance
programmes (means tested, that are subjected to economical and don’t universal checks)
in the Balkans are insuring a small coverage for the poor; the effectiveness of the
selective kind is open to argument, because it doesn’t thwart the worsening of poverty
and inequality23.
From this point of view, the Balkans and the south bank have a similar post communist
transition and an autocratic regime experience in common and also a lack of welfare
system able to withstand the crisis. On the contrary, EU coast countries have an important
network of social care – even if they have a lot of bad-integrated welfare programmes
and they are far from the welfare state system of the rest of the Union24. Slumping in the
flow of remittance and the negative perspectives of FDI, both in the Balkans and in the
south bank, exert pressure on the balance of payments and they force the governments to
The tool used by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia that allows
countries having an imbalance in the balance of payments to collect a part of their
B. Deacon, P. Stubbs (by) (2007), Social Policy and International
Interventions in South East Europe, Edward Elgar Publishing, Chelthenam.
W. Bartlett (2011), Overview of Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion
Policies in the Western Balkans. M. Zupi (2006), “Integrazione o disintegrazione delle
politiche contro la povertà?" "Mutamenti delle politiche nazionali europee per combattere
la povertà”, in G. Vacca and J. L. Rhi-Sausi (by), I dilemmi dell’integrazione. Il futuro del
modello sociale europeo, Rapporto 2006 sull’integrazione europea, Fondazione Istituto
Gramsci, CeSPI, Il Mulino, Bologna.
M. Ferrera (1996), “The ‘southern model’ of welfare in social Europe”,
Journal of European Social Policy, N. 6/1.
embrace austerity programmes. It is happening also inside the EU and causes negative
consequences on inequality and on social policies.
If we had had the data concerning inequality in 2012, we would probably have found a
further growth compared to the past years (the data of the past years were already high):
just the well-off can protect themselves from the effects of the crisis on the income.
Sustainability and territorial cohesion
Sustainability as a common supranational good is an opportunity to build a partnership
among the coast countries sharing the same sea and ecosystem. The borders of the
countries and of the territories have phenomenon making the systems of governments
based on the state value and on the idea of inside and outside outdated.
However sustainability should not be considered only like a natural holdings value that
has to be preserved for the future because it is important for the growth. In the same way,
the Green Economy should not be considered only like an opportunity for new jobs and
to revitalize economy, and decentralization and regionalization belong to the specific area
of governance and they are not the new place of competitiveness25.
Instead, sustainability can promote an integrate and organic approach, that means
permanent correlating – not hierarchically – the social field and its economic structure
with political organisation and the ecosystem (climate, resources, human place) in the
territories26. On a territory level, locally, nature takes shape in relation with the skills of
the society, reviewing nature and the structure of the technique, of the job and metabolic
relationships between humanity and nature. In this way, the interaction among nature,
poverty, inequality, economic growth model, political power control and democratic
systems becomes permanent. Poverty and inequality at the same time become clear as
new and traditional kinds of disparity and inequality manifesting themselves into
traditionally homogeneous categories.
Environmental risks in the Mediterranean Sea are a lot and they are known and shared
with the different banks: degradation caused by bad management of the water, farmlands,
energy and the coasts, overexploitation of the densely populated coasts, the neglect of upcountry isolated areas, air pollution, building, coastal erosion and depletion of fishing
resources, danger of irreversible loss of biodiversity, more of 80% of the areas are dry
and affected by desertification. Climate changes worsen the situation of this region
M. Ferrera (1996), “The ‘southern model’ of welfare in social
Europe”, Journal of European Social Policy, N. 6/1.
A. Stocchiero e M. Zupi (2009), "Linee di indirizzo per la cooperazione
decentrata per lo sviluppo e la sostenibilità", in A. Stocchiero (by), La cooperazione dei
territori per lo sviluppo e la sostenibilità, CeSPI-WWF, Rome.
particularly vulnerable to landslides, earthquakes, spates, drought, and bushfires27.
Anthropic pressure – with an increase of 90 million people expected by 2025 -, mass
tourism, urban redevelopment, the main production and consumption model, transports
and energetic facilities are a real danger for the ecosystem, the quality life and social
stability, affecting especially the poorest people, unable to protect themselves from
economical and environmental risks.
The Mediterranean Sea is one of 34 trouble spots in the world which need with priority
the protection of the biodiversity and it is the region with the highest coastal population
density (53%) in the world. More than two-thirds of Italian people live on the coasts (the
anthropic pressure contributes to make them breakable, interacting with climatic
changes). Inequalities too, they have a territorial profile: in the south bank of the
Mediterranean there is a big concentration of business in less than 10% of the surface.
The annual percentage growth rate of urbanization is 3.3%; the demographic one is 2.6%
and the fast urbanization is an ongoing process (on average, rural population was 65% of
the total in 1960 and it has become 35% in 2007). According to calculations made by the
World Bank28, 3% of the densely inhabited surface (more than 50 people per km2)
accommodates 92% of the population.
The inequality among the territories is bigger than in other areas and the ongoing
demographic transition occurs with heavy geographical disparities, connected to the
economy and the agglomerations: in each country, fertility rates have decreased much
more in the integrated areas than in the suburban ones. Egypt is an example thanks to its
huge disparities: Upper Egypt (south) has just 40% of population, but 80% of the poorest
people; but economic geography alone can’t explain the gap between Upper and Lower
Egypt (north). According to calculations made by the World Bank, 62% of the
consumption gap is caused by the highest demographic dependency. Egypt has always
not much used the public spending locally and not in aid of the backward areas; on the
contrary, in Tunisia there is a division between areas integrated in the global economy
and the backward ones, and politics has neglected the intermediate areas, which has
caused many migratory fluxes.
A great number of people (61%) living in the backwards regions crowds in areas not far
from the town in order to stay in the development circuit. The rural question is political,
social, economical and cultural one: rural areas gain less access to telephones and internet
than the urban ones, especially in the south bank of the basin, where 31% of the rural
population lives in areas without any mobile connection.
Institut du développement durable et des relations internationales (2009),
The Future of the Mediterranean: from impacts of climate change to adaptation issues,
Paris, mimeo.
World Bank (2010), Poor Places, Thriving People: How the Middle East
and North Africa Can Rise Above Spatial
Disparities, Washington D.C.
Agglomeration economies and spatial inequalities pose local problems (economical and
social): more rural than urban, more in isolated areas than on the coasts, where the
anthropic pressure sometimes is unbearable for the environment29. An approach and
national political answers prevailing (decentralized public spending is not much in this
region) have not arrived to an effective result. The problem of inequalities and poverty,
the socio-economic stratifications inside the territories and categories (rural population),
in a general perspective, settle and interact with environmental problems: water, energy,
food, land, geological instability meet poverty and inequalities. A town-and-country
approach and planning, through spread and decentralisation processes, is basic in order to
launch a new strategy for an industrial sustainable and integrated politic, in the search of
answers to job problems, poverty and inequalities, giving a real support to democratic
processes in whole the Mediterranean region, with a possible basic contribution from the
partnership for the strengthening of the territorial comprehensive and clear governance, at
the centre of the APQ programme30.
2. From the Eurocentric model crisis to the Mediterranean territorial
(Andrea Stocchiero)
The situation described in the introductory chapter has highlighted the need to build a
more socially, economically and territorially cohesive Mediterranean. This is required, on
the one hand, by the citizens of the Arab countries, who managed to change authoritarian
national regimes thanks to a series of revolutionary movements, and, on the other hand,
by a crisis of the EU and of its enlargement process, that need a revitalization of the
development perspectives especially in its Mediterranean countries.
The Arab Spring represents a hope of change, the perspective of building new
democracies and researching a bigger social justice that challenge both neo-liberalistic
prescriptions and a corrupt and authoritarian state31. At the same time, European crisis is
not just a financial one, with its damaging effect on the real economy and on the society,
M. Zupi (2011), "La crisi nel Nord Africa. Fallimenti del mercato e
incognite sulla democrazia", audizione CeSPI, Commissione Esteri, Camera dei Deputati,
Rome, 2nd March.
M. Zupi (by) (2012), Rapporto di valutazione strategica del Programma di
sostegno alla cooperazione regionale nel Mediterraneo e nei Balcani (APQ), CeSPI,
Rome, June.
with Euromesco.
Sika, N. (2012), The Political Economy of Arab Uprisings, PapersIEMed 10, joint series
but it involves and brings political Union basis, solidarity and the responsibility shared
with the Member states into question, showing the deficit of a democracy that is prisoner
of the capital market and of intergovernmental decisions limited to a small number of
Member states. EU crisis has foreign policy implications, also because its so-called
normative and civic power, its “soft” power, loses credibility. The EU has many problems
to propose itself on an international level as a model of democracy and social and
economic development32.
For the first time on a symbolic political level there is a partial movement of the
perspectives in the Mediterranean area: the South is the driving force behind any new
opportunity, whereas the North is affected by the crisis. Together with these two
exceptional events, there are other factors that are changing Euro-Mediterranean
relations: the growing participation of emerging global and regional actors, from the
BRICS to Turkey and the countries of the gulf region, disengagement trends, the
weakening of US position, the importance of strategic resources management such as
energy, water, earth, food, even as a consequence of the effects of climate changes.
Among these factors, it is really important to highlight the function of Turkey, an
emerging regional power. Turkey is a model for the new democratic process of the Arab
countries33 and, at the same time, it invests and spread its economic network in the
western Balkans, and it puts itself as the focal point of the relations between Asia and the
Mediterranean. EU is not able to “communicate” with Turkey and suggests it just the
status of potential candidate country: this is a sort of limbo; on the contrary, it would be
necessary a stronger foreign entry policy and/or a strategic partnership policy34.
For a geopolitical analysis of the EU crisis compared to the neighborhood,
let’s see: Stocchiero, A., “A new European turnaround? Geopolitical effects of the EU
financial and economic crisis on the borders with the neighbours”, in the forthcoming
report Regional dimension of change: the multi-level geopolitics of the EU’s relations
with neighbouring countries, 2.19 (WP 2), of the research programme
EUBORDERREGIONS: EU External Borders and the Immediate Neighbours. Analysing
Regional Development Options through Policies and Practices of Cross-Border Copoperation, financed by the Seventh Framework EU Programme.
Various Authors (2011), Turkey and the Arab Spring. Implications for
Turkish Foreign Policy from a Transatlantic Perspective, Mediterranean paper series
2011, The German Marshall Fund of the United States and Istituto Affari Internazionali.
Renard, T. (2012), “The EU Strategic Partnerships Review: Ten Guiding Principles”, ESP
European Strategic Partnership Observatory, FRIDE and Egmont, Policy Brief 2, April.
Overcoming this difficult moment needs a bigger integration on a regional and global
level, the strengthening of the process of democratization, the revival of the economic
growth with a better distribution of the benefits, in order to avoid that the growth of the
crisis and Europe flattening about security question lead in a short period to closures and
to authoritarian regimes and they lead in Europe to the return of nationalism and to the
growth of populist and xenophobe drifts.
In this context, speculating about the possible (and appropriate) next development of the
dynamic cooperation in the area. Mediterranean area is following non-homogeneous
tendencies: some countries can carry on the democratization process and some others still
have authoritarian regimes; the stalemate of the conflict situation obstructs, in this
moment, the integration process on a regional level. Furthermore, Mediterranean Europe
countries, affected by the crisis, could weaken their driving force and could become
marginal both in an EU with different speeds, and as a partner for the south bank
countries. More in general, the Mediterranean itself risks another marginalization in
the global scene, beyond the specific interests connected to strategic resources35.
Concerning European political choices, there is the possibility of continuing the plan
made in the last years, characterised by a neighbourhood policy addressed to bilateral
sustain action plans, in order to contribute to process of reform, strengthened in the
sustain to the democratization process. However, the unsatisfying results and the changed
context would suggest a deep reinterpretation of that approach with different practicable
options, starting from a strong bond of the EU policy with the EU Member countries
interests, especially concerning security, arriving to the transfer of rules and standards,
related to the acquis communautaire, in an instrumental way to economic and security
European interests, to the opposite approach focused on the increasing of cooperation and
sharing of the objectives with partner countries and on a bigger cohesion between the
actions of the Community institutions and foreign policies of the Member states. There is
also the possibility that EU direct itself through a multilateralization of the policy in the
area, especially planning out new initiatives in cooperation with the new emerging
powers on a global and regional level. Otherwise, the boost for the strengthening of the
civil societies can predominate, with the aim of funding a Community of shared values
beyond the role of the single country, and an EU policy conducted by local demands of
reform and keener in the normative effect36. The fact that this policy can have a
“decentralized, but interrelated of Olympic rings”, where sub-regions could work
Soler i Lecha, E. (2011), The Future of Mediterranean Security and Politics. The Western
Mediterranean in 2020: Scenarios for Regional Security and Cooperation after the Arab Uprisings,
Mediterranean Paper Series 2011, The German Marshall Fund of the United States, December 2011
Youngs, R. (2012), When gravity fails… Five futures for Euro-Mediterranean relations,
Policy Brief, FRIDE, Nº 125 – April 2012
together in order to increase the sustainability of the countries and of the area, even if
there is not a real integration between the two banks, is very interesting37.
In view of these different options, the beginning of the renewal of the EU Neighbourhood
policy38 shows some tendencies to change. The Commission shows the three elements of
distinction compared to the previous policy: “democratic transformation, a partnership
with people and civil society, and sustainable and inclusive growth”39. Compared to the
previous edition, the “deep democracy” has become the overriding matter of cooperation,
with its corollary in support of the civil society, while the efforts for the liberalization of
the exchanges, with a bigger mobility and more resources, have been confirmed,
according to the so-called 3M (Money, Market, Mobility)40, and with an increased
conditionality, according to the precept “more-for-more), in favour of the governments
that rush along towards political, economic and social reforms.
The differentiation of the EU relations with the single countries of the neighbourhood and
a close examination in order to propose to integrate them (without the accession),
outsourcing domestic policies, according to acquis communautaire, are confirmed. They
Tocci, N. (2011), State (un)Sustainability in the Southern Mediterranean and Scenarios to
2030: The EU’s Response, MEDPRO Policy Paper No. 1/August 2011
See European Commission (2011), A partnership for Democracy and
shared prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean, COM (2011) 200 final, Brussels, 8
March 2011; e European Commission (2011), A new response to a changing
neighbourhood, COM (2011) 303, Brussels, 25 May 2011
European Commission, High Representative of the European Union for
Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; Joint Staff Working Document, Partnership for
Democracy and Shared Prosperity: Report on activities in 2011 and Roadmap for future
action. Accompanying the document Joint Communication to the European Parliament,
the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the
Regions; Delivering on a new European Neighbourhood Policy, SWD(2012) 121 final,
Brussels, 15.5.2012, page 2.
European Union (2011), Remarks by EU High Representative Catherine
Ashton on arrival to the Extraordinary European Council, Brussels, Press, 11 March
2011; e Füle, Š., European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood
Policy, Arab Spring, Speech/12/66 at the Conference: EU- Nachbarschaft – Der
Arabische Frühling ein Jahr danach, Munich, 3 February 2012.
should conform with the values and the guidelines of the Council of Europe concerning
democracy and the rule of law41, trading new commercial rules to set up “Deep and
Comprehensive Free Trade Areas” in order to simplify the progressive integration of their
economies in the EU single market, to conform to an EU-Mediterranean statute of the
enterprises, to come near to the standard in the energetic and European transport fields, to
increase the participation to the Seventh European Framework Programme for the
research. In general, “New generation Action Plans will include substantial elements on
improving investment climate and regulatory convergence with EU acquis”42.
By way of summary, neighbourhood policy relate more and more itself to the
enlargement policy – that are confirmed exactly the same for the period 2014-2020,
promoting a pragmatic approach that plays on acquis exportations – except for the
accession of partner countries. The aim is to wield the EU attraction power, but it is in
crisis, while the south bank countries and the western Balkans countries are looking for a
new opportunity of autonomy and relations in a multipolar world.
On closer inspection, the new EU neighbourhood policy offers a great range of
opportunities for integration, with lots of initiatives addressed to several fields and
subjects. On a regional level, there is a total of 38 projects: from civil protection to
culture, from migrations to energy, from safety to transports, until new initiatives for
democracy43. But, concerning the above-mentioned 3 M, just the one related to the
Market is significant44. Despite a relative increase of the resources for the cooperation,
the M for Money is inadequate to the big challenges faced by the neighbourhood
countries. The new involvement for the period 2014-2020, which EU will establish in the
See documents in
European Commission, High Representative of the European Union for
Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; Joint Staff Working Document, Partnership for
Democracy and Shared Prosperity: Report on activities in 2011 and Roadmap for future
action. Accompanying the document Joint Communication to the European Parliament,
the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the
Regions; Delivering on a new European Neighbourhood Policy, SWD(2012) 121 final,
Brussels, 15.5.2012, Page 11.
For a critique about the EU involvement concerning the three M, see at
page 12 of EUROPEAN FOREIGN POLICY SCORECARD 2012”, a cura di Vaïsse, J. e
Kundnani, H., European Council on Foreign Relations.
straitened circumstances of financial and economic crisis, has to be verified. The M for
Mobility is weaker: the opposition between the interests of the neighbour countries and
the position of the EU Member States, which are subjected to xenophobic and racist
drifts, is in evidence. The chapter about the Roadmap Mobility is the shortest one and the
least full of substantial contents: European visa facilitating the mobility for students,
entrepreneurs and representatives of the civil society and the strengthening of the
dialogue with some countries (Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, but also Libya and Jordan) in
order to reach agreements of partnership for the mobility, are figured out45.
In general, EU trend follows a line of pragmatism and partial continuity. It is considered
the need of open to the new perspectives of democracy and to the civil society, which has
been able to produce an unexpected change, without tackling root questions that should
impose a more structural review of the contents and of the approach. To this, three
basic criteria are distinguishable46.
The first one concerns a question raised many times, but it gets stronger in consideration
of the new multipolarity of the international relations, with geopolitical position more and
more stronger in the Mediterranean of new global, such as China, and regional, such as
Turkey, actors. The lack of coordination and the conflicts among the Member States and
also among the Member States and EC institutions in foreign policy compromise the
effectiveness of the neighbourhood policy and, in particular, its conditionality, especially
towards the countries having authoritarian regimes and turning to other actors of the
international scene (see for example the case of Syria with Russia)47.
The second crisis point concerns the permanence of a euro-centric approach, in which
partners have to adapt to mandatory values, political aims and rights
(acquis communautaire), put them in doubt by the EU crisis. This allows to move to the
third point, that concerns closely the political contents of the structuring of the
neighbourhood policy, based on reproposal of a model of a weak partnership, not only
because of the lack of incentives for the integration, but also because of its
See at pages 13 and 14 of Staff Working Document, Partnership for
Democracy and Shared Prosperity: Report on activities in 2011 and Roadmap for future
action; SWD(2012) 121 final, Brussels, 15.5.2012.
For a summary of the most important critiques to the neighbourhood
policy, see Coletti, R., “The European Neighbourhood Policy and the Meso-regional
strategies” in the forthcoming paper Regional dimension of change: the multi-level
geopolitics of the EU’s relations with neighbouring countries, 2.19 (WP 2), of the
research programme EUBORDERREGIONS.
Balfour, R. (2012), EU Conditionality after the Arab Spring, PapersIEMed,
June 2012; Tocci, N., One Year On: A Balance Sheet of the EU’s Response to the Arab
Spring, PO-Med, GMF and IAI, May 2012.
contradictoriness, ambiguity and credibility gap. Despite the greater attention to the
democratic process of the Arab countries, the neighbourhood policy is still bound to
security matters, regarding both the migrations and the need of accessing to strategic
resources such as energy, and even more in the future, water and earth. Concerning
democracy, also in this case EU can’t characterize itself as a model to comply with,
when, during the crisis, the democratic deficit and the contradictions of a model bound to
the interests of a neoliberal market economy, that has caused the social crisis and that
obstructs the free circulation of the work element, are more evident on all levels.48
The Mediterranean today find itself closer in the need of opening and reforming
itself, in order to react to the possible marginalization, don’t flatten on policies of
austerity that are an end to itself and that consider prescriptions similar to the structural
adjustment known in the south bank, but launching a policy of social and territorial
common cohesion, able to improve the Mediterranean varieties in the world and to
encourage the democratic transformation. That is caused by the EU southern countries
withdrawn into themselves under the pressure of the markets, sharpening of the difficulty
of the enlargement of the EU and the persistent nationalist drifts in the western Balkan
countries and because of the Arab countries engaged in new paths of democratization and
economic and social revival.
But then, the peripheralization of the Mediterranean is a danger for the north Europe. It
is not much for the economic and social interdependences connecting countries, but for
the resistance of the democratic values. Peripheralization means division and
stigmatization that feed xenophobic and racist drifts. A more integrated and innovative
Mediterranean in its variety, become a necessity also for Europe, in order to avoid its
cultural and democratic decline.
On the basis of the analysis and remarks already proposed, it is possible to imagine an
EU-Mediterranean policy that could better face the challenges involving both the north
and the south bank. The main question is the demand of a greater social and economic
cohesion, sustainable on an environmental level, and to be pursued through new models
of democracy in both the banks49.
All these aims are characterized by the territorial dimension. Relative to the above
mentioned future hypothesis of cooperation, a new dimension, the territorial one, enters
and allows better view and interpretation of crucial questions such as democratization and
the role of the civil societies and sub-national institutions. It is a dimension of noteworthy
Tocci, N. (2011) e Kurki, M. (2012), Democracy promotion and crisis of
democracy in the West, 3 January 2012. [http://www.opendemocracy.net/miljakurki/democracy-promotion-and-crisis-of-democracy-in-west].
Tocci, N. (2011), Schmid, D. (2011), After the Arab Spring: is it time for
the Euro-Mediterranean order to be rethought?, IMED, Euromed Survey;
relevance, as shown by the Arab revolutions, originated in marginal contexts such as
Tunisia or Yemen, in contexts traditionally consigned beyond the control of strategic
resources as Benghazi in Libya, and boiled in non-institutional Mediterranean places such
as Tahrir Square in Cairo. Revolutions spring up in territorial and social specific contexts.
The lack in the EU proposal to the partner countries is a multi-scalar variety of the
cooperation, promoting reform processes on a territorial level, closer to civil societies
and their democratic expression. Then again, some partner countries, such as Turkey for
example, after the Arab Spring, have immediately tried to set up new regional policies of
territorial development, especially in the most marginal areas and where the rebellion has
been stronger.
Indicating the regional policy, inspired to the policy of European cohesion, such as a
sectorial area of the cooperation with the neighbourhood is not enough.50 Beyond the
incongruity compared to the cooperation in the enlargement policy – where, on the
contrary, regional policy seems to be a pillar for the accession – its underestimation
highlights the lack of a coherent and coordinated plan, in which the pursuit of new
models of democracy and social justice can’t put the matter regarding territorial cohesion,
multilevel governance and subsidiarity at the centre of the question.
The Conference of peripheral maritime regions (CPMR) has proposed the policy of
convergence or of social, economic and territorial cohesion as new reference frame for
EU-Mediterranean relations51. However it is necessary to avoid an euro-centric
structuring that considers the opening and the exportation, sic et simpliciter, of the EU
policy of social cohesion towards the neighbours, while it seems to be necessary, in the
spirit of a real partnership, debate again between Mediterranean governments and civil
societies among territorial cohesion policies, different depending on the contexts, but
close in a common aim and in the respect of basic values such as human dignity,
participation, reorganization of communities able to include, respect the minorities and
shape their destiny. It is about planning a common work, opening a public debate among
parties and social and economic organizations, that means clearly admitting the
legitimacy of the parties and of Islamic organizations, strengthening a new public ruling
class and of the organizations of the civil society, especially on a local level, giving
See page 19 in Joint Staff Working Document, Partnership for Democracy
and Shared Prosperity: Report on activities in 2011 and Roadmap for future action;
SWD(2012) 121 final, Brussels, 15.5.2012.
CRPM – Conference des Regions Peripheriques Maritimes d’Europe
(2011), Turn Neighbourhood Policy into a genuine cohesion policy at the borders of the
European Union, CPMR POLICY POSITION, September 2011
women and new generations space, as it was indicated in 2002 in the paper about the
Arab human development of UNDP52.
In addition to it, the building of a scene for a more cohesive Mediterranean should equip
of an approach based on a greater reciprocity in the public debate and in the
transformations, both in the south and in the north, and in the sharing of common
challenges, from climate change to democratic management of common goods, or
strategic resources, from new sustainable models of production and consumption to social
inclusion and acknowledgement of a decorous work for all.
Reciprocity means that it is necessary to found again the relation between the north and
the south of the Mediterranean. Because of European gaps, it is not coherent to impose
conditionality just in the south: even conditionality has to be reciprocal, and “more for
more” should be valid here and there. In this context, it is evident the need for Europe to
recognize migrants’ rights, to fight fiercely against xenophobia and racism, to reform its
economic and social policies in view of the growth of inequalities and poverty, to take it
upon itself the responsibility of the pollution of the Mediterranean Sea and of the impact
of its models of production and consumption concerning the climate changes, to work to
solve the contradiction between the demands of markets liberalization in the south and
the protection of its agricultural sector.
Lines of politic, social and economic reforms should emerge from a common way of
public discussion about values and policies, about the revision of the
acquis communautaire and about the meaning of common Mediterranean acquis. Public
debate should happen on different levels, intersecting themselves according to the values
of vertical and horizontal subsidiarity, supporting decentralization process and active
cooperation between public and private, not only in the economic meaning of the publicprivate partnership, but also of reorganization of management method of common goods
with local organizations of the civil society, such as for the case of the communities of
secular or religious welfare.
Macro-regional strategy is a new instrument that should help to face the challenges of
democratization process and the research of new models of economy and society suitable
for local contexts, through territorial dimension and subsidiarity. It is born inside the
policy of EU social cohesion as domestic policy of regional development, but it could
find a new reading in the Mediterranean context. It could represent the multi-scalar
declination of the EU domestic-foreign policy, supporting transnational relations of the
territories and local communities in a multi-level scene and of integration of the different
plans of cooperation, from that of across-the-border cooperation, and of territorial
development in a macro-regional area. Beyond its “technical” aspects (integration of
different instruments for a bigger functional effectiveness), it is important to highlight its
potentiality in terms of promotion of a spread, decentralized and across-the-border public
debate for the consolidation of networks and partnerships, for testing new policy to share
United Nations Development Programme and Arab Fund for Economic
and Social Development (2002), Arab Human Development Report 2002 - Creating
Opportunities for Future Generations, New York, 2002.
or not depending on the contexts. The macro-region could gain an important status in
order to the foundation of an across-the-border democracy in the Mediterranean, in a new
dialogue among local communities, nation states and supranational organisms.
Suggestions as regards a territorial cohesion policy in the
(Andrea Stocchiero)
Further to a strategic evaluation of the APQ Programme, a series of directions have
emerged, trying to give an answer to common challenges in the Mediterranean and that
appear to be coherent with the political framework of a Mediterranean53 territorial
cohesion as described in chapter 1.
It follows that a territorial cohesion policy in the Mediterranean should be characterized
• A focus on 1) job issues, with attention to social and territorial mobility
(migrations), towards inequalities and poverty reduction; 2) on welfare systems,
with reference to demographic and gender issues, towards a whole concept of
human development; 3) on the environment, with reference to the strategic
resources management in rural areas and in towns; 4) on democracy, as regards
local development governance and intercultural dialogue.
• The growth of an ownership not only shared by national governments, but also by
the Mediterranean local communities and territories, adopting multilevel
governance that is able to make supranational, national and local levels work
• The adoption of reciprocity and subsidiarity principles, in order to overcome the
euro centric approach and take the opportunity offered by the Arabic Spring to
develop and experiment new human development models, starting from local
territories and communities, exploiting the diversities on a global level and
defining new common Mediterranean aquis from which a mutual conditionality
• A lever and territorial actors systems multiplier effect, by involving key actors for
local and transnational development that are complementary with each other, and
that supplement their competencies by creating partnerships among territories, in
which regions or local authorities can play a direction and mobilization role.
• An integrated approach among sectors that responds in a coherent way to the
principle of territorial cohesion and human development, by joining together
cultural, economical, social and environmental aspects.
See more specifically the executive summary in: Zupi, M. (edited by)
(2012), op. cit.
• Working on the strengthening of local actors’ skills as regards taking part to
human development, through different instruments of representative and
deliberative democracy.
• Capitalizing and evaluating in a structural way the learned lessons in order to plan
again the actions and to reach a higher level of efficacy.
• Creating transnational platforms that facilitate the intercultural dialogue and the
non-violent management of local and across-the-border conflicts, in order to aid
mobility on a civil society level and people to people exchanges to encourage
social change and the redefinition in the perception of the “other”.
The objectives, the political and action contents necessary for the Mediterranean cohesion
need an institutional architecture renewal, starting from the “Union for the
Mediterranean” (UfM) to the neighbourhood (ENI), the pre-adhesion policy (IPA) and
their instruments. A few suggestion state as follows.
The UfM, despite its criticized French imprimatur, is based at least on three positive
elements: the principle of co-ownership between European and south Mediterranean
countries with a wider sharing of principles and strategic projects in order to give
concreteness and visibility to the action, an approach to the Mediterranean area which
includes the west Balkan area as well, the opening to the Gulf area countries and, in
general, International financial institutions. Unfortunately, the UfM has never taken off
but it is at risk of dropping because of political weakness, above all because of the IsraeliPalestinian crisis and as a consequence of the financial crisis, which takes away the
possible resources necessary to the strategic projects concretisation. Notwithstanding this,
the appointment of Fathallah Sijilmassi as a new general secretary and the 500 million
Euros’ contribution made by the BEI aimed to projects financing has brought new hope.
As Soler (2012) states, the UfM will have to start realizing at least some of its objectives
in prospect of 2014, when some important contest actions will be clearer for an effective
revival. The projects imply the territorial dimension and the UfM, which is assisted by
the ARLEM, has already gathered intervention hypothesis by involving southern and
northern local authorities. Particularly relevant is the management of water resources in
the cities and in the rural territories, with new participatory and democratic management
policies as regards water as a common good. In those terms, the relationships between
public authorities at different levels should be accompanied by citizens’ direct
participations. The project “Overcoming governance challenges to the mobilization of
financing for the Mediterranean water sector” recently approved within the UfM,
involves local authorities and civil society’s organizations through the Global Water
Partnership Mediterranean and represents an important opportunity to define new
models of integrated and participated management to the water resource.
Apart from water, the UfM together with the ARLEM could work towards a territorial
and democratic management approach of other strategic resources such as energy, air and
earth. As regards energy, decentralized models of renewable energetic resources can be
studied and analysed in order to introduce them to national and transnational nets, by
overcoming a centralized approach based on big structures. In this way, the authority54
that is studying the Mediterranean solar plan should also evaluate it as regards its
territorial aspects, democratic control and social equity.
As regards the cohesion scenery, it is necessary to work towards an UfM revival that is
open to civil societies; next to the ARLEM there should be an institution and a civil
society’s expansion process able to talk up at a regional level. It would be necessary that
the different design, as well as those of big infrastructures, would be conceived in their
articulations with the local, the territories, the communities, in order to better handle the
problems bound to the NIMBY syndrome (Not In My Back Yard) as well as to
experiment new decentralized resource managing models.
In the new planning related to Neighbourhood and Pre-adhesion the different regional
and global instruments (the facility for the civil society, the thematic line for the
democracy and human rights and the one for non-state actors and local authorities, the
institutional technical assistance through the Taiex, the across-the-border cooperation…)
the subsidiarity principle, overcoming the sectional approach according to actors’
Instruments and their related projects that, in turn, should face each other and position
themselves (mainstreaming) inside the framework of the national, decentralization and
territorial development reform process, aimed at helping the skills strengthening
processes of the different actors in the Mediterranean, of which there is still need,
especially after the carried out transformations, transitions and crisis. On this point, the
question registered with the call of proposals launched by the ENPI CBC and Adriatic
IPA CBC struck the attention: hundreds of proposals were answered in a limited number
because of the limited funds available.
In the same way, the European Endowment for Democracy55, besides avoiding a Eurocentric approach, it should sustain the confrontation among political parties and civil
society starting from a local level, from new involvement models in cities and regions.
The EED could acquire an important role to instigate the public debate and to create new
models of a human development that is more concerned with the social justice and
sustainability demand; with a territorial approach concerned with the places now
considered as marginal such as rural places and big cities suburbs.
The EED might reconsider the European experience and redefine a policy of social,
economic and territorial cohesion in the Mediterranean area according to the human
development approach, a policy able to appreciate the different cultures and learn from
Following a Parliament proposal a discussion is in progress among the
different community bodies as regards practicability conditions of an instrument (or fund)
that is flexible and adaptable to different contexts and able to sustain bottom-up the
democratic transition processes, conceived especially (but not only) for the
the experiences supported by the actions of cooperation. The territorial dimension as a
space for the concretisation of democracies aimed at the cohesion should be the main aim
of the EED’s work because in the territorial dimensions the social and economic
relationships, which generate democracies, are measured.
This is true as regards the deeper and deeper interdependence that bounds the territories,
the weight of flows (such as finance), and entities (such as multinationals) that are at the
same time inside and outside the territories. According to this context, it is necessary to
have the awareness of building democracies among territories and beyond territories, at a
transnational level, in order to bring the flows and the entities back again, as they have aterritorial decision structures in a framework of principles, rules and inspections that are
legitimated by people’s will. It follows the importance of strengthening the
transnational and the across-the-border cooperation: bigger resources as well as
management and policy skills are necessary to give an answer to the great request that
comes from the territories that is to work together to face common challenges. It is about,
on one side, widening territorial partnership nets in order to involve more actors and
communities, avoiding in this way a consequent self-reproduction and self-reference; on
the other side, it is about strengthening the skills as regards giving an answer to common
needs with more investments, by integrating from different sources. The creation of
European groups of territorial cooperation (Gect) can represent a new instrument to
consolidate the best nets (in this way the Gect constitution should respond to quality and
skills tests). The multiplication and consolidation of nets and partnerships among
territories, such as the ones created through the APQ Programme, should let the checking
of the hypothesis as regards the creation of macro-regional strategies at a sub-regional
level (starting from the Adriatic-Ionic one) and /or that one of the entire
Mediterranean area.
As regards this topic, the Italian initiative that has recently been started in favour of the
Adriatic-Ionic macro-region involves the entire national system, the MAE and the
regions, with the objective of creating a new strategy in which the UE financing of
different programs, both territorial and thematic, and national and regional co-financing
could converge. It would be a good start if with the next Italian premiership in the UE, in
2014, this strategy could become real, showing a strong political signal and an innovative
perspective as regards cooperation in the area towards the European integration of the
west Balkans.
The Adriatic-Ionic macro-regional prospect could represent a proving for the
development of new Mediterranean macro-regions. For this reason, it will be necessary to
start thinking about involving the territories of the different Mediterranean banks and the
different levels of government. This idea could be promoted by the ARLEM and/or by a
group of regions and local authorities, in collaboration with civil societies organizations
particularly involved in the territorial cohesion.
There is also who56 puts political cohesion hypothesis forward according to geometry of
Olympic rings, for regional spaces that better represent an open and truly mutual EU that
Browning, C.S. and Joenniemi, P. (2008), “Geostrategies of the European
Neighbourhood Policy”, European Journal of International Relations, 14:3, 519–551; and Stocchiero, A.,
is responsible and sympathises with the neighbourhood as experimented by the Northern
dimension. Bottom-up macro-regional spaces that appreciate the common approach
diversities and that involve regional powers such as Turkey.
Finally, there is the multilateralism of the Mediterranean territorial political cohesion. In a
multipolar world it is not possible to set a policy that does not take into consideration the
comparison and the cooperation with the emerging powers, starting from Turkey (for
which it is still uncertain its adhesion to the EU) to China, and the adhesion of
international financing institutions to a global plan such as the one put forward by the
United Nations with the process and debate about “Beyond 2015”57.
For these reasons, the institutional UfM framework represents the more adequate entities
to develop a common Mediterranean position that knows how to monitor the relationship
with the emerging powers with a collaborative spirit, bringing cooperation back to the
principles that refer to the territorial cohesion policy. The IFI involvement is already
arranged in the UfM scheme and will have to be reinforced at the moment of its
reintroduction. The formation of the Mediterranean territorial cohesion policy will
nourish and take advantage of the debate about the developing aims of “Beyond 15”,
which consists of four dimensions inspired by a holistic approach in range with the needs
of Mediterranean societies: 1) social equity; 2) inclusive economic development; 3)
environmental sustainability; 4) peace and security.
It is about a debate that points out the need of improving policies cohesion, by involving
even more local communities at a sub-national level: “the events underline the
importance of giving an answer to democracy governance deficits at a national and subnational level in order to guarantee the legitimacy of development policies and sustain
people’s seizure of power”58.
"A new European turnaround? Geopolitical effects of the EU financial and economic crisis on the borders
with the neighbours", in Regional dimension of change: the multi-level geopolitics of the EU’s relations
with neighboring countries, 2.19 (WP 2), research programme EUBORDERREGIONS, in course of
UN System Task Team (2012), Realizing the Future We Want for All,
Report to the Secretary-General, UN System Task Team on the post-2015 UN
Development Agenda, New York, June 2012.
Page 19 of Realizing the Future We Want for All.

ENG_For a Mediterranean territorial political cohesion