In times of the pandemic, humankind faces a global crisis. The Euro-Mediterranean area is no exception to this. Looking back at developments in the region only during the past 15 years, one is tempted to think that countries and citizens around the Mediterranean were marked by a succession of various crises: a financial and subsequential debt crisis unfolding from 2007, waves of Arab Uprisings starting in 2011, which have not brought about the advance of democracy, a subsequent surge in migration movements towards Europe from 2015, the threat of international terrorism, the rise of populism and nationalist resentments in various EU member states and, most recently, COVID-19 with expected long-term societal impacts. But there is more to it.
The 25th anniversary of the Barcelona Process some months ago presented a timely moment to assess the past and to explore new opportunities for stronger bonds between both shores of the Mediterranean on all levels of society. In an era of globalisation, we are ever more interconnected – for the best and for the worst. Multiple challenges arising from crises often do not stop where national borders or continents do. Crises also bear an opportunity, if not an imperative, to adjust our course of action. Current decisions will shape the region for years to come, not only its national healthcare systems, but also the economies, politics and culture of the Mediterranean countries. How can the Euro-Mediterranean agenda be adapted to this new reality, once the storm has passed?
The present Report: “A moment to reflect: Creating Euro-Mediterranean bonds that deliver” brings together analyses by experts and testimonies by those who are engaged in the creation of such bonds through different professional domains. Its aim is to highlight best practices and provide new ideas for a constructive and future-oriented Euro-Mediterranean relationship in a post-COVID era. The initiative stems from the conviction of the need to strengthen collaboration between the EU and its Mediterranean neighbours. Even more so, during and in the aftermath of the pandemic, we have to create and foster platforms for dialogue and joint action.
More than a mere stocktaking exercise, this initiative should foster further exchanges around “Euro-Mediterranean bonds that deliver”. The current pandemic is an opportunity to relaunch relations between the EU and its Mediterranean neighbours, emphasising the existing potential for a more inclusive, prosperous and positive future. Drafted during the 25th anniversary year of the Barcelona Declaration, this Report aims to stir debate by providing reflections and the impetus that go beyond the moment of commemoration.
The Report is a joint endeavour by CIDOB – Barcelona Centre for International Affairs, Elcano Royal Institute and Friedrich Naumann Foundation Madrid – a partnership between the two most influential Spanish foreign policy think tanks and a German political foundation devoted to political education and dialogue worldwide, and since December 2019 also from its Mediterranean Dialogue office in Madrid.
Editors: Haizam Amirah-Fernández, Carmen Descamps and Eduard Soler i Lecha.
Authors: Hannah Abdullah, Haizam Amirah-Fernández, Félix Arteaga, Moussa Bourekba, Gonzalo Escribano, Miguel Hernando de Larramendi, Francesco Pasetti and Eduard Soler i Lecha.