EU-Mediterranean

The Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area (EMFTA) is a free trade zone under construction since the Barcelona Declaration, a framework plan, was adopted in 1995. It is being built through a series of bilateral FTAs (called Association Agreements) between Brussels and each state bordering the Mediterranean, as well as so-called horizontal FTAs between the non-EU Mediterranean countries themselves, such as the Agadir Agreement.

The countries in question are Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey. (Libya is left out of the EMFTA plan as such, but will be served a separate bilateral trade and investment deal from the EU.)

Many people view the EU’s ambitions to build this special "partnership" with North African and Middle Eastern states — which involves not only trade and investment liberalisation but deep political reform, what Brussels calls "approximation" of other countries’ legal and political institutions with its own — as both imperialist and neocolonial. This is all the more significant taking into account the United States’ plans to weave together a US-Middle East Free Trade Agreement (MEFTA). For the two are in direct competition.

EMFTA was supposed to be completed by 2010. However, a sustainability impact assessment of EMFTA commissioned by the EU already foresees important negative social and environmental consequences. Complicating things further, French President Sarkozy took the initiative to set up a Union for the Mediterranean, involving only the countries that border the sea, which was launched in July 2008. Further still, questions have been arising as to why the EU does not merge its Mediterranean FTA initiative with its GCC FTA initiative.

In September 2011, the EU announced the opening of "deep and comprehensive" trade negotiations with Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. In February 2012, the EU and Morocco signed an agricultural trade deal (which also covers fisheries). Critics have noted that the agreement will promote the exploitation of the disputed territory of Western Sahara, that the main benefactors will be transnational companies and the King of Morocco, and that small farmers will suffer under the deal.

last update: May 2012


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  • 2-May-2016 Kapitalis La Tunisie et le libre échange avec l’Europe : Panacée ou risque majeur ?
    L’accord de libre échange avec l’Union européenne (UE) de 1995 n’a pas été d’un grand apport à l’économie tunisienne, pourquoi alors le compléter et l’approfondir?
  • 25-Apr-2016 WSRW Iceland agrees with CJEU, excludes Western Sahara from trade deal
    All four members states of the EFTA free trade association conclude in the same way as the Court of Justice of the European Union. Goods from Western Sahara cannot be inluded in free trade agreements with Morocco.
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    Mais plutôt qu’un partenariat, l’ALECA révèle en fait l’impérialisme commercial agressif de l’Union européenne.
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    S’il arrive à être adopté, le chapitre de l’ALECA relatif aux marchés publics, apportera le coup de grâce aux PME tunisiennes.
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    L’accord qui ligoterait la Tunisie à l’Union européenne, est aussi un accord énergétique, qui entre en conflit avec la Constitution et les lois.
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    L’Accord de libre-échange complet et approfondi (ALECA) serait-il ce pacte qui nous obligerait dans quelques années à accepter plus de concession au profit de la machine européenne.
  • 6-Apr-2016 Nawaat Accord de libre échange, radio nationale et liberté d’expression
    Un journaliste parle de censure et de tentative d’intimidation en raison de sa critique à l’Accord de libre échange complet et approfondi (ALECA) que la Tunisie devrait signer, prochainement, avec l’Union Européenne
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    Pour couper à toutes les spéculations concernant les éventuelles retombées du futur accord de libre-échange complet et approfondi (ALECA), nous proposons une lecture scientifique.
  • 4-Apr-2016 WSRW Here is why the EU appealed EU Court ruling on Western Sahara
    The Official Journal of the European Union has published the appeal brought by the EU Council against the Court of Justice of the EU’s decision to annul the EU-Morocco agricultural agreement insofar as it applies in Western Sahara.
  • 17-Mar-2016 Kapitalis Pour un nouveau partenariat entre la Tunisie et l’Union européenne
    Il faut que l’accord de libre échange complet et approfondi (Aleca) avec l’Union européenne soit adapté aux besoins spécifiques de la Tunisie post révolution.
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