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EURODEFENSE WEBINAR

It is only natural that our attention should now be focused on the war in Ukraine and all its consequences. But this should not make us forget other areas of tension, real or potential, fraught with threats to our European space.

The development of the Mediterranean basin is a major and permanent source of concern in this respect. The very real energy crisis and competition for oil and natural gas resources; the food crisis that is likely to spread; the political situation in countries undergoing rapid demographic change where aspirations for change and revolt are combined; the exacerbation of the resulting regional antagonisms; are just a few examples that make ancient Mare Nostrum a zone of turmoil and great uncertainty.

This is why the network of EuroDéfense associations created a few years ago an Observatory on the Mediterranean basin led today by Manuel de la Cámara, Ambassador of Spain, and connoisseur of this area and its problems.

On November 24, 2022 from 17:00 to 18:30 (CET), a  webinar has taken place moderated by Jean FOURNET, President-in-office, EURODEFENSE network, with Ambassador Manuel de la Cámara as main speaker, who has presented the report of the observatory

Slides and comments can be read through the links below

THE MEDITERRANEAN BASIN. A TROUBLED NEIGHBOURHOOD

TEXT Manuel de la Cámara Méditerranée 24 11 2022

 

 

Observatory of the Mediterranean Basin: Report to the Lisbon President’s Council

Since the last EURODEFENSE President’s Council, the situation in the Mediterranean Basin has not improved neither politically nor economically. The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the difficulties that the people in the region are facing. The EU continues to pay great attention to the region, but its political influence remains limited, even though it continues to allocate substantial resources to cooperation with its southern neighbors.

Turkey and the EU: A difficult but critical relationship

On April 7, 2021, the European Union and Turkey held a meeting in Ankara at the highest level. The Turkish side was headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the EU by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel and the President of the Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen. At the end of the meeting at the Presidential Palace, the leaders moved to a living room where Erdoğan and Michel sat in two chairs flanked by the Turkish and EU flags, while Von der Leyen was left standing. After some hesitation, she sat on a side sofa, just like the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu, who took seat on a sofa on the opposite side. According to the chief of Protocol of Mr. Michel, Dominique Marro, it was thanks to Michel’s intervention that Von der Leyen was not seated on a side chair during the luncheon and was not excluded from the official photo of the meeting.

Mediterranean Observatory – An overview of the present situation in the Mediterranean region

The Euromediterranean Conference held in Barcelona on 27/28 November 1995 adopted the so-called “Barcelona Declaration”. It was approved by the then 17 EU Member States (MS) and its 10 Mediterranean partners, including Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Declaration was a landmark in the EU’s policy vis-á.-vis its Southern neighbors, encompassing wide economic, cultural, political and human cooperation.

The European Union pact on migration and asylum

On 23 September 2020, the European Commission proposed a so-called “New Pact on Migration and Asylum” -document COM (2020) 609 final-. In August 2020, EURODEFENSE-ESPAÑA presented to the Commission a paper on The New Pact, responding to the opportunity offered for interested parties to contribute to this debate. This paper was later distributed within the EURODEFENSE network.

Immigration en Méditerranée : IRINI succède à SOPHIA

Décidée par l’Union européenne le 18 mai 2015, l’opération SOPHIA faisait partie d’un ensemble de mesures visant à répondre à une immigration massive transitant par la Méditerranée, à la fois en détectant l’arrivée des migrants et en s’attaquant aux causes de cette immigration que sont la pauvreté, les conflits et les persécutions. Au printemps 2019, suite au refus de l’Italie de recevoir les migrants sauvés en mer, l’opération se limitera à une surveillance aérienne et satellitaire de la zone, jusqu’à son arrêt définitif le 31 mars 2020. A cette même date, le Conseil européen décide toutefois de lancer une nouvelle opération, baptisée IRINI.

Mediterranean Observatory – The European Southern Border

The outlying regions of the Maghreb in the south, within the Sahara Desert, are part of the old commercial routes along the Sahara and constitute economic spaces with shared identities and are distant sides of national territory. Since independence, the region’s states have devoted the economic development and investment in their coastal centres, leaving vast interior regions and borderlands forgotten and marginalized.

Mediterranean Observatory – Early Warning: Algeria

Algeria is undergoing a transformation that might lead either to a true political transition or simply to a change of regime. Since the departure of Bouteflika, the regime’s margin to manoeuvre has increased a bit, but the people seem to believe that the president’s resignation was a way for his clan to gain time to install a successor close to it. The ruling powers are still in control and they do not want to hand over the power to the new Algerian generation until they will be satisfied with a compromise candidate. In the background the Algerian Army is protecting its unrelenting political dominance.

Mediterranean Observatory -The Situation in the Middle East and the EU

Taking advantage of U.S. and EU hesitation, geopolitical competitors have been filling political and security voids in the Middle East. Europeans need to become quicker in anticipating and acting on power vacuums to avoid being outpaced by global and regional disruptors such as China, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, or Turkey.