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Report | Doc. 11301 | 08 June 2007

Euro-Mediterranean agricultural and rural policy

(Former) Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs

Rapporteur : Mr Walter SCHMIED, Switzerland


If Europe wants a real international role, it cannot afford to ignore the Mediterranean Basin. Europe and the Mediterranean have become so interdependent strategically that they obviously need to forge special partnerships. Groundbreaking co-operation with the other Mediterranean countries will allow Europe to play a part in globalisation and explore prospects for a type of sustainable co-development in which human, social and environmental variables are quite as important as economic and political factors.

The Mediterranean’s agricultural and rural problems are multidimensional and Euro-Mediterranean mobilisation is needed to solve them. Agriculture is the basis of Mediterranean identity and decisive for the region’s societies. Convergent action in this sphere could result in close co-operation, mobilising people and resources on the basis of solidarity, human sympathy and mutual benefits for both sides of the Mediterranean.

A. Draft resolution

1. The Parliamentary Assembly has always taken a keen interest in the Mediterranean Basin and the different problems faced by this region lying at the edge of the Council of Europe. Eighteen member states are to be found in this region and this southern border is of direct concern to the Council of Europe in the context of its neighbourhood policy. As has been pointed out many times by the Assembly, and recently in its Recommendation 1753 (2006) on external relations of the Council of Europe, Europe needs stability not only within its frontiers but also beyond, in particular in the Mediterranean region.
2. Although the democratic security advocated by the Council of Europe is difficult to achieve in view of the various conflicts and complex political situations in the region, a sectoral approach and sectoral co-operation could make progress easier and lead to a better understanding between the two shores of the Mediterranean. In this connection, one of the key sectors which could lead to rapid and substantial progress in this region is agriculture (and its associated policies) in the light both of its ongoing importance in the countries on the southern shore and of the existence of a common European policy in this field – the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In this connection, the Assembly refers to its Resolution 1331 (2003) on challenges for Mediterranean agriculture.
3. A new process of gradual integration of the Mediterranean Basin began in 1995 with the Barcelona Declaration, which has not yet lived up to expectations. This process did not, however, include agriculture even though this was and remains a strategic sector in the region, given the prospect of the setting up of a large Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area by 2010. On the contrary, the Mediterranean area has become even more fragmented despite the existence of a Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) and excellent relations with the Mediterranean partner countries (MPCs) of the European Union.
4. By 2020, according to the United Nations, the population of the Mediterranean will have doubled in the space of fifty years to reach 544 million inhabitants (including a threefold increase for the southern and eastern shores). Today, one third of this population still lives in rural areas. While in the north the number of people employed in agriculture is now only a third of what it was, in the south the number continues to rise. Above and beyond the North-South imbalance, there is an additional division more worrying still: the urbanisation and coastal-oriented development of the countries on the southern shore, with accelerated rural exodus, rapid impoverishment of the countryside and increased demographic pressure.
5. There are also worsening agricultural trade balances in most MPCs, making them structurally dependent as regards agriculture and food on the European countries which account for 50% of the agricultural exports from these countries and 30% of their imports. Furthermore, agriculture still represents 10% to 15% of the GNP of most of these countries. An additional problem is poor food security and safety in the countries on the southern shores, in both quantitative and qualitative terms.
6. Given this context, the Assembly is convinced of the need for a proactive strategy to bring about closer involvement between Europe and the Mediterranean, adopting a partnership and solidarity-based approach. To this end, strategic priorities have to be set in areas of common interest, such as agriculture. The countries of Europe have a key role to play in seeking and implementing increased co-operation in this sector. The countries on the southern shore should seek concerted action and avoid competing amongst themselves and defending their own interests.
7. The Assembly is convinced that in order to avoid a situation in which the two shores of the Mediterranean went their own separate ways and became more inward-looking, thereby exacerbating existing structural differences or, alternatively, in which there was excessive development of the countries in the south, deepening the social and economic divide, the only way forward is involvement, solidarity and the defence of common and strategic interests in a globalised context.
8. The Assembly believes that national parliaments and European parliamentary assemblies have a major role to play in promoting Mediterranean co-operation. The Assembly itself and the Council of Europe should step up co-operation and dialogue with the Mediterranean countries which are not Council of Europe members to bring about greater stability and democratic security in the region. Such co-operation and dialogue should be carried out in consultation with all the partners concerned, and in particular the European Union.
9. It refers to the holding of the 2nd Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Agriculture (Strasbourg, 28 and 29 September 2006), which it organised jointly with the European Parliament and in co-operation with the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) and the International Federation of Agricultural Producers. This conference took stock of trends in Euro-Mediterranean co-operation in agriculture and rural development.
10. The Assembly recognises the great value of the work of CIHEAM to promote Mediterranean co-operation and relations between Europe and the Mediterranean, particularly as regards training in the fields of agriculture and food to bring about more harmonious development and increased stability in the region. It believes that it can and should be a common platform for dialogue and for co-operation on an equal footing between all the countries in the Mediterranean Basin.
11. Consequently, the Assembly recommends that the Mediterranean countries and the European Union:
11.1. initiate a Euro-Mediterranean rural development programme, aimed not only at satisfying such infrastructure needs as access to drinking water, health services and education, but also at promoting diversification of the economy and creating new activities;
11.2. implement gradual and carefully controlled liberalisation of Euro-Mediterranean agricultural trade, with due regard for the region’s socio-economic and environmental requirements. A system of trade preferences for Mediterranean products would contribute usefully to the region’s economic integration;
11.3. manage rationally the agricultural output of the countries of the South, adapting it to local environmental conditions (avoiding crops which make heavy demands on water), and seeking to develop exports (particularly by means of improved access to the European Community market) without forgetting their domestic markets and providing support for peasant communities and small family holdings;
11.4. support the introduction of improved management and optimum use of water (since the countries on the southern shore have only 13% of the water resources of the Mediterranean Basin), particularly for irrigation, involving both improvements to infrastructure and fairer charges for water. Know-how transfers and consciousness-raising campaigns should be carried out to improve the region’s prospects in this area;
11.5. promote support for two kinds of farming: bio-farming and rational and sustainable farming;
11.6. put in place control arrangements for the probable introduction onto the market of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), in particular by recognising national rights regarding intellectual property of local genetic resources;
11.7. encourage brand-marking of Mediterranean products, based on a threefold commitment to identity, quality and security by developing certification procedures in the countries on the southern shores and promoting the setting up of a Euro-Mediterranean food safety agency to oversee the traceability and marketing of the region’s agricultural produce;
11.8. promote Mediterranean eating habits and make the most of typical and branded products of the region. Where they are better informed, more aware and increasingly more concerned about their health, Mediterranean consumers might shift to local, high quality products;
11.9. strengthen consumer organisations to make people more aware of food quality, which is a vital public health issue in the region. More emphasis should also be placed on greater civil society involvement in discussions on agricultural, rural and food issues south of the Mediterranean;
11.10. rebuild town–country relationships by setting up solidarity-based partnerships between tourist zones on the coast and the hinterland, the aim being to ensure that more locally produced food is consumed in towns and tourist resorts than imported foodstuffs, and to encourage more tourists to head for rural areas (green and gastronomic tourism);
11.11. assess supplies and marketing of agricultural produce by reorganising the sector through better synergies between small producers, transporters and distributors. Logistics in this sector (processing, storage) will also need to be upgraded;
11.12. gradually introduce measures to combat certain epizootic diseases or the effects of crop pests;
11.13. introduce more agronomic research and training, to help improve the region’s agricultural output through innovative means of meeting new challenges (urban pressure, deterioration of the environment, failing water resources, climate change) and by setting up a Euro-Mediterranean agronomic research area.
12. The Assembly further recommends that the European Union and the member states:
12.1. make agriculture a strategic pillar of the EMP, devoting the necessary resources to making it a force for development in the countries of the South and a motor for convergence between the two shores of the Mediterranean. The Euro-Mediterranean project cannot succeed without agriculture in all its many aspects (rural world, trade, environment, socioeconomic equilibria, culture, demography, public health);
12.2. see the future of the CAP as mutually dependent on present and future developments in the Mediterranean Basin and extend it to Mediterranean produce. In addition, a Euro-Mediterranean fund could be set up to cover the reorganisation of agricultural structures on the southern shore;
12.3. set up a Euro-Mediterranean platform for dialogue and cross-disciplinary co-operation on agriculture which could focus on three skill areas: policy definition (decision makers, governments, parliaments, civil society), research and expertise (researchers, analysts, training staff), and professionals and producers (players involved in the agricultural chain, from production to marketing);
12.4. seek to bring about convergence of Euro-Mediterranean positions within international organisations. The first step here would be to encourage closer ties and exchanges between countries on the southern shore. The next would be to present, as far as possible, a united Euro-Mediterranean front at international level, and particularly at the World Trade Organization (WTO);
12.5. continue to hold Euro-Mediterranean meetings on agriculture, such as the one held in November 2003 under the Italian Presidency of the European Union, and organise by 2010 a Euro-Mediterranean ministerial meeting on the rural and agricultural worlds covering all aspects of agriculture (trade, environment, social cohesion, public health, regional planning);
12.6. focus attention more on international complementarities than on intra-Mediterranean competition in a way which ensures that agricultural production matches the environment, territorial structure and socio-economic realities of the various Mediterranean countries. Complementarity of production could also help to intensify interregional solidarity;
12.7. implement and comply with the principles of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD), setting up the instruments and machinery required for sustainable agricultural and rural policies.
13. The Assembly recommends that non-European Mediterranean countries and the Arab League, via the Arab Organisation for Agricultural Development, consider setting up a regional fund to finance the modernisation of agricultural structures in these countries and balanced and sustainable development.
14. The Assembly recommends that the Mediterranean member states of the Council of Europe not yet members of the CIHEAM join this centre in order to facilitate Mediterranean co-operation in the fields of agriculture, rural development and food.
15. The Assembly further recommends that the national parliaments of the Mediterranean countries, the European Parliament and the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly develop parliamentary co-operation in the rural and agricultural sectors in order to promote a pooling of information and experience and consultation and co-ordination over legislation in this field.
16. The Assembly invites the European Parliament to continue follow-up and development of the Barcelona Process and of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, paying particular attention to the agricultural sector and to the progressive liberalisation of trade in Mediterranean agricultural products, particularly by means of agricultural negotiations and agreements with Mediterranean partner countries.
17. The Assembly invites the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to envisage creating a regional office for the Mediterranean which would co-ordinate its activities in the countries of the region and facilitate co-operation between them in the rural, agricultural and food sectors.
18. The Assembly plans to pursue its co-operation with the CIHEAM by organising regular Euro-Mediterranean parliamentary conferences with the participation of the parliaments of the Mediterranean countries, the European Union and the relevant international organisations such as the FAO and the OECD.

B. Explanatory memorandum, by Mr Walter Schmied 
rapporteur thanks the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean
Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), and its Secretary General, Mr Bertrand
Hervieu, in particular, as well as Mr Sébastien Abis, project manager,
for their precious co-operation and their contribution to the preparation
and drafting of the present report.


1. Introduction

1. More than a decade has elapsed since the Barcelona Declaration which, when announced in 1995, held out the promise of a stabilised and gradually more integrated Mediterranean. Today, this prospect is growing more remote and the Barcelona project seems very fragile. This change from hope to uncertainty warrants a look at the geopolitical dynamics at work in the Mediterranean since 1995.

1.1. The Euro-Mediterranean promise in 1995

2. In November 1995 the European Union accorded the Mediterranean all the attention that this region demands. At the time, the Barcelona Declaration sent a powerful signal of hope in a region that seems capable of reaping the dividends of the new post-bipolar world order. Following on from Europe’s Mediterranean policies launched in the 1970s, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) was seen as a dual geopolitical challenge. The EU hoped to raise its profile on the international stage by extending its security and defence policy and its natural zone of economic and commercial expansion in order to give substance to the concept of Europe as a world power. For the Mediterranean partner countries (MPCs) of the southern and eastern Mediterranean, 
			The 10 Mediterranean
partner countries (MPCs) are Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon,
Morocco, Syria, the Palestinian territories, Tunisia and Turkey.
Cyprus and Malta, formerly considered as MPCs, joined the EU in
May 2004.the main aim is to secure a much-needed external foothold at a time when their development is marking time and globalisation is accelerating. Behind this strategic alliance, which seeks ultimately to reconcile the EU’s security needs with the southern shore’s economic growth imperatives, two specific aspects of the EMP should not be overlooked: the multilateral dimension of the co-operation (with, in particular, the presence side-by-side of the Palestinian Authority and Israel) and the absence of the United States.
3. Technically, this partnership is divided into three sections (political, economic and sociocultural), corresponding to three objectives pursued in the Mediterranean: the development of an area of peace and stability, the creation of a free trade area by 2010 and the strengthening of human and social relations. These aims were attractive because they foreshadowed the gradual building of an integrated Euro-Mediterranean area. At the time, then, hearts and minds were united in a determination to join the destinies of the two shores of the Mediterranean.

1.2. Frustrations and uncertainties in 2007

4. Unfortunately, in the space of a decade, the Euro-Mediterranean promise has turned to disappointment. There is no denying the reality of the far-reaching changes that have affected the region in the last few years. On the one hand, the failure of political Europe is hastening the erosion of European influence in the world. Yet the Euro-Mediterranean cannot be built without a strong and determined Europe. On the other, the hoped-for political opening and reforms have not materialised in the countries of the southern Mediterranean. However, the profound societal changes taking place there are creating new aspirations among the population.
5. Despite the aims set out in Barcelona, the Mediterranean Basin today is neither more stable nor more prosperous. On the contrary, all the great global divisions are concentrated there. The gathering pace of globalisation and shifting international geo-economic balances, due partly to the take-off of Asia and stagnation of Africa, highlight and exacerbate the disparity between the two shores of the Mediterranean. And this region, riven by fear and passion, seems to be sinking deeper into conflict and withdrawing further into itself.
6. An impression of disorder therefore hangs over Euro-Mediterranean co-operation at present: anxiety and disappointment prevail over satisfaction and trust. Nevertheless, criticism of the MPCs should mask neither the importance of the EMP nor its role and relevance. Failing to act is not a solution in this region of the world and a Euro-Mediterranean non-partnership would be costly in many ways.
7. The problems facing Euro-Mediterranean cooperation can be put down to a great many factors. One of these is that insufficient account has been taken of certain strategic sectors. Agriculture is one area to which scant attention has been paid within the Euro-Mediterranean context, and yet it occupies an essential and strategic place therein: essential because it is fundamental to the maintenance of social equilibrium, being situated at the interface between the economy, politics and culture; strategic because important political and trade issues and the resolve to build a more cohesive Mediterranean region depend upon the ways in which it develops and is dealt with.
8. To highlight the strategic dimension of agriculture in the Mediterranean and review the development of the agriculture question within the EMP are the first two aims of this report. Without overlooking the role played by the major international and regional institutions present in the region, the report will end with an exploratory look at the future of the Euro-Mediterranean project with specific reference to agriculture.

2. Strategic overview of agricultural and rural dynamics in the Mediterranean

9. Agriculture stands out as a strategic sector of the societies and economies of the Mediterranean Basin. This finding is based on a range of factors, which can be summed up under five major headings: demographic trends, the vulnerability of agricultural trade, rural development issues, the environmental challenge, and the question of food security and safety.

2.1. A key socio-demographic variable

10. The Mediterranean population is set to double in the space of half a century, rising from 285 million in 1970 to 544 million in 2020. 
			See Appendix I.But this population growth nevertheless presents a contrasting picture because while the north of the Mediterranean has remained stable in population terms for a number of decades, the southern shore is undergoing a tremendous population explosion (331 million inhabitants estimated for 2020 as compared with 116 million in 1970, that is a tripling of the population in 50 years). Some countries have started their demographic transition, notably those of the Maghreb where population growth now takes place in the cities, but other southern countries still exhibit the same overall demographic dynamics with a numerical increase in the rural population, as in Egypt.
11. In 2005, a third of the Mediterranean population was still living in rural areas and a third of the labour force in the southern shore countries was still working in agriculture. 
			The number of people
working in agriculture in countries of the southern and eastern
shore rose from 26.44 million in 1965 to 33.578 million in 2004
(including 14.8 million in Turkey and 8.6 million in Egypt). In
the countries of the northern shore, for the same period, the number
of people working in agriculture fell from 16.781 million in 1965
to 6.157 million in 2004. This rural and agricultural population has naturally swollen on the southern shore with the demographic boom, while at the same time, in the north, the rural population has been decreasing faster and faster, as has the number of people employed in agriculture. 
			See Appendix II.In these early years of the 21st century, let us be clear about one thing: the Mediterranean is not solely urban, coastal and service oriented.

2.2. A worrying agricultural trade situation

12. The worsening agricultural trade balances of the Arab MPCs warrant particularly close attention. For three decades now, these countries have been in a chronic situation of food dependence and some states now seem to be suffering from major structural deficits (Algeria, Egypt). The MPCs’ agricultural trade relations with the rest of the world showed a negative balance of nearly €9 billion in 2004. Only Turkey had a positive balance, but it should be borne in mind that this country accounts for 48% of the MPCs’ agricultural exports to the rest of the world.
13. Where Euro-Mediterranean trade 
			See Appendix concerned, three important messages need to be put across.
  • First, the asymmetry of the trade relations: trade with the 10 MPCs makes up only 2% of agricultural imports and exports in the European Union (EU25), 
			It should be noted
that France is the leading European country for exports of agricultural
products to the MPCs, accounting for nearly 30% of exports to that
region in 2004. In the south of the basin, the leading country for
imports of European food products is Algeria, with around 25% of
the MPCs’ total imports from the EU.but the EU attracts 52% of their agricultural exports and accounts for 28% of their exports. Consequently, there is a very clear differential between the north and the south of the basin in terms of the intensity of agricultural trade.
  • Secondly, the deceptive balance in Euro-Mediterranean trade, which is in the MPCs’ favour (+0.6 billion dollars in 2004) simply because Turkey alone accounts for nearly half of the MPCs’ agricultural exports to the EU25. The upshot of this is that without Turkey’s agricultural power, the MPCs’ agricultural trade balance with Europe shows a deficit (1.5 billion dollars in 2004).
  • Thirdly, the opening up of the MPCs to the world market: despite their trade preference for the EU25, 72% of their imports in 2004 were purchased from the rest of the world. Europe, therefore, is not the only major exporter to the southern Mediterranean: the United States, Argentina, Brazil and Australia are leading players, as evidenced by the exports of cereals from these countries to the southern Mediterranean. 
growth in demand for cereals (for human and animal consumption)
has been greater than the growth in production in the southern Mediterranean.
In the Maghreb, for example, between 1961 and 2001, net imports
of cereals were multiplied by 21 in Algeria, 20 in Morocco and 13
in Tunisia. The cereal deficit, which will increase further in the
years ahead, is therefore becoming structural. It should be noted
that in 2003 the MPCs represented 4% of the global population but
attracted 12% of the world’s cereal exports.The attitude of Morocco, which signed a free trade agreement with the United States in 2004, shows that some MPCs are now seeking to form political and trade alliances outside the Euro-Mediterranean perimeter.
14. Furthermore, the agricultural and agrifood products traded between the EU countries and the countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean reflect to a large extent the two regions’ agricultural specialisations. The EU’s main exports to the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries (SEMCs) are cereals 16%), dairy products (15%) and sugar (8%). Leaving aside these three groups of products, however, one can see a great diversity in the other products, especially in the processed food category. Exports from the SEMCs to the EU are much more specialised. Over half of them (54%) are fruit and vegetables, fresh or processed. Added to this are seafood (10%) and olive oil (also 10%).
15. Lastly, it should be remembered here that agriculture remains a major determinant of the national economies of the southern shore countries, accounting on average for between 10% and 15% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), though with some extremes (23% in Syria, but only 3% in Jordan).

2.3. Rural development at a standstill

16. The urgent need to develop the rural areas of the southern Mediterranean looms large among all the issues facing the region. The main focus continues to be on combating poverty, a persistent scourge in these areas. The number of persons living on less than a dollar per day is even said to have increased since 1990, a decade in which the effects of structural adjustment programmes weighed heavily on the development process in these countries. While significant progress was recorded in the MPCs in the 1970s and 1980s, the trouble since the early 1990s has come not only from the underdevelopment which can be perceived but also from the non-development which can sometimes be felt. Community infrastructures are lacking or deteriorating (access to water, health services and education), and there are problems concerning gender inequality, which is still greater in rural areas than in the cities.
17. In these countries there is also a risk of new territorial imbalances. The gap is widening dangerously between coastal urban areas and the rural areas of the interior. The marginalisation and pauperisation of country-dwellers are increasing in line with the opening up to world trade of the urban coastal strip running from Agadir to Istanbul. It is as if the southern Mediterranean no longer needed its hinterland in order to develop, salvation being dependent, according to the prevailing liberal thinking, on foreign trade links. While the coastal cities have been propelled into the future, rural areas have become backwaters of no interest to anyone.

2.4. A range of environmental challenges

18. The wealth of natural resources and varied landscapes of the Mediterranean make it a globally outstanding ecoregion. Yet, with human and industrial development, this environmental heritage is gradually being eroded. Despite nearly 30 years of international efforts to protect this unique ecosystem, it remains fragile and continues to decline as a result of the increased pressure exerted on the environment. Already vulnerable, the Mediterranean region is therefore further weakened by human activity, which often works to the detriment of the environment, so much so that the Mediterranean is now threatened with non-sustainability. Several main trends can be identified.
  • There is growing evidence of climate change, with significant and unpredictable temperature variations, an increasing number of extreme weather events and a fall in mean annual precipitation. Pollutant emissions caused by fuel consumption should continue to increase in the years ahead despite measures taken by the EU in the northern part of the basin.
  • Biodiversity continues to dwindle and the threats now facing the Mediterranean ecosystem are unfortunately commensurate with its wealth. The Mediterranean is thus becoming an at-risk ecosystem, rendered increasingly vulnerable by desertification, deforestation and the extinction of certain animal and plant species. Mediterranean land resources are suffering too, with, on the one hand, the loss of farmland to rampant urbanisation and, on the other, whole areas deprived of water and irrigation.
  • Indeed, water is the focus of environmental tensions. As it becomes increasingly scarce it is increasingly coveted in a region already known for its water shortages (60% of the world’s “water-poor” population, that is, with less than 1 000 cubic metres per inhabitant per year) and the unequal distribution of resources (the southern shore countries possess only 13% of total resources). Looking to the future, water is confronted with competition between sectors (agriculture, human consumption and industry), bearing in mind that some 80% of the demand for water is currently accounted for by the agricultural needs of the countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean. At the same time, access to clean water for the population remains a problem (water quality is effectively becoming a factor for social discrimination) and the basic infrastructures are clearly in need of improvement (wastage and leaks due to the lack of efficient supply networks). Lastly, a debate is beginning about the possible usefulness of the concept of virtual water (quantity of water needed to produce an imported agricultural product).
19. The combination of all these elements confirms the lasting relevance of the environmental variable to strategic analysis of the Mediterranean Basin.

2.5. Two-tier food security and safety

20. Given the scale of population growth in the region and the observed deterioration in agricultural trade balances, food security for the populations of the Mediterranean remains an issue. First of all there is the quantitative aspect, because malnutrition remains a scourge (approximately 4% of the population of the southern Mediterranean suffers from undernourishment on a daily basis), one that is increasing numerically as a result of the population explosion (7 million people in 1990, 9 million in 2002). Focusing again on the quantitative aspect, the example of dependence on cereal imports in the great majority of Mediterranean countries should be cited, with two eloquent figures: the Mediterranean currently accounts for 22% of world cereal imports but represents only 7% of the world population. As for the MPCs, they attract 12% of world cereal imports but account for only 4% of the world population.
21. Coming on top of the quantitative problem, there is unfortunately growing concern about the quality of food. Although the Mediterranean diet is recognised by the World Health Organization and singled out as one of the finest heritages of the Mediterranean Basin, the Mediterranean countries are moving increasingly away from it. Dietary changes are a universal phenomenon accompanying economic development and urbanisation. This transition, gradual in the north and sudden in the south, has brought with it a drop in food quality. The increased rate of obesity is one significant indicator among others of this trend, which has adverse effects on the community and on the welfare of populations (especially among the young: in the Maghreb, 17% of children under the age of 5 are obese).
22. Reading between the lines of these findings, a Mediterranean north-south divide emerges once again. Europe, hit by headline-making health alerts in the 1990s (dioxin, mad cow disease), has now succeeded in enhancing product traceability and safety (quality and certification policy based on the setting up in 2002 of a European food safety authority). However, whatever efforts are made, the countries of the southern Mediterranean remain handicapped by these health requirements (seen as the region’s new non-tariff barriers) in the absence of any appropriate, operational structure for guaranteeing food safety and certifying the quality of their products.
23. Population growth, globalisation of trade, regional underdevelopment, environmental tensions and stricter requirements for the nutritional and health quality of products: however simplistic it may be, this pattern reveals the many challenges now faced by Mediterranean agricultural sectors. Their future could be summed up as follows: produce more, produce better and produce clean.

3. From partnership to neighbourhood: agriculture in the Euro-Mediterranean context

24. Since the 1995 launch of the Barcelona Process agriculture has consistently been regarded as a sensitive and therefore special sector of the EMP. After a brief account of Mediterranean policies conducted by Europe pre-Barcelona, we shall examine the three separate periods into which Euro-Mediterranean agriculture debate since 1995 can be divided.

3.1. The European Union and the Mediterranean: the Barcelona turning point

25. Since the 1960s Europe has had relations with most of the countries on the south shore of the Mediterranean. That posture was chiefly dictated by economic imperatives, as confirmed by, among other things, the establishment of Euro-Arab dialogue at the time of the oil tensions in the 1970s. Preferential trade agreements were concluded in 1969 with Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. They were revised and added to in the 1972-92 period, in a second, “whole-Mediterranean” approach, in which Egypt, Jordan, Syria and the Lebanon were now involved.
26. Europe’s southwards enlargement in the 1980s, followed by the new international geopolitical order after the fall of the Berlin Wall prompted the European Union to develop its relations in the region: this brought about the third phase, that of “new Mediterranean policy”. The many accelerating transitional processes (socio-demographic, economic, geopolitical and cultural) which the Mediterranean Basin was then undergoing within a radically altered world strategic context lent fresh impetus to cooperation. Thus was born the Euro-Mediterranean concept, fully realised in the November 1995 Barcelona Declaration. The innovative and promising Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) set itself three main objectives: peace and stability in the region, economic and commercial integration through free trade, development of intercultural dialogue and promotion of civil societies. In retrospect the results of this investment in the future have been disappointing. 
			For the broad picture,
see the introduction to this report.

3.2. 1995 to 2002: disagreements and the agricultural exception

27. Although trade was one of the cornerstones of regional co-operation, with the aim of setting up a Euro-Mediterranean free trade area by 2010, agriculture remained a sensitive sector when association agreements between the European Union and the MPCs were being set up. 
			See Appendix IV.Because of this agriculture was deliberately played down, despite then being a central question at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and in multilateral international negotiations. While the ground for industrial free trade was prepared, Euro-Mediterranean economic liberalisation in agriculture was put on hold. The reasons for this are complex but the diagnosis is fairly well established.
28. In the north, EU producers were afraid of increased competition if Community preference was abolished. In the south exporters were pressing for greater access to the EU market. In general the MPCs were major importers from the EU of basic products such as cereals, sugar and milk. Because of their weak agricultural food production they were also reluctant to expose their farming to foreign competition. In addition, some of the Euro-Mediterranean commercial “conflict” arose from the risk of increased competition between the northern and southern Mediterranean in olive oil, fruit and vegetables if trade was liberalised. And there was one final extremely sensitive matter: the two-tier nature of the agricultural sector south of the Mediterranean: alongside a few high-performance agrifood industries ready to compete in the globalised market were a huge number of tiny family farms scattered throughout the rural areas and essentially producing for their own consumption.
29. For this reason agriculture has always received controlled treatment within the EMP. Quite clearly, something of an exception was made of agriculture when the association agreements were negotiated.

3.3. Post 2003: opening up despite deadlocks

30. The first Euro-Mediterranean ministerial conference on agriculture was not held until 27 November 2003 – in Venice, under Italian chairmanship. The main recommendations were on reinforcing rural development, promoting quality agricultural production and launching concrete action in the organic farming sector. Debate now focused on the speed of the process and the methods to be used. In addition, the decision makers felt that agriculture had to be handled on a case-by-case basis, according to the sensitivity of the particular product in EU markets and according to the export competitiveness of the particular MPC (the differential approach). This position was reflected in the thinking behind the new European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) formulated the same year.
31. In 2005 (10th anniversary of Barcelona Declaration), which the European institutions designated the “Year of the Mediterranean”, agriculture came to the fore in the timetable for reforming and relaunching the EMP. In a communication dated 15 November 2005 the EU officially announced its decision to open agricultural negotiations with the MPCs. Negotiations were to start in 2006, with the aim of gradual liberalisation of trade in agricultural and fishery products, whether fresh or processed. That decision was built into the five-year work programme adopted at the Euro-Mediterranean Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Barcelona on 28 November 2005.
32. Apart from a debate on the Euro-Mediterranean at the WTO, 
			See section IV.i of
this report.there has been confusion about the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area (EMFTA) to be created around 2010. The first point is that the date is approximate – full trade between the EU and the MPCs will begin according to a timetable based on signature of the various association agreements. 
signature by the partner country and the EU the association agreement
has to be ratified both by the parliament of the partner country
and each parliament of the EU member states in order to enter into
force. Several years may elapse between these two stages. Thereafter
the date of entry into force starts a 12-year process of gradually
preparing the way for full liberalisation of trade between the parties.
For example, Tunisia, which ratified its association agreement in
1998, has a target date of 2010 for commercial liberalisation with
the EU. In contrast, Algeria, the latest partner country, which ratified
its agreement in 2005, is aiming at 2017. In the case of the other
countries, the theoretical dates would be 2012 for Israel and Morocco,
2014 for Jordan, 2015 for Lebanon and 2017 for Egypt. Will the agenda
gradually change as a result of the new ENP and the European Commission’s
current negotiations with some MPCs on agriculture?A further point is that recent impact studies 
			In particular the impact
study on sustainability of the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area,
a 2003-06 project co-ordinated by Manchester University and conducted
in partnership with, in particular, the CIHAEM and Luigi Bocconi University,
Milan.of the EMFTA’s effects have raised doubts about its socio-economic sustainability.
33. As regards the EU as a whole, the effects would probably be limited on account of the MPCs’ underdevelopment as agricultural exporters. Opening up the markets might, on the contrary, boost European exports to the southern shore of the Mediterranean, where there is a considerable and growing need for the basic products which Europe markets very effectively (cereals, milk and meat). However, southern Europe, taken in isolation, would be seriously affected by sudden agricultural liberalisation: producers in the traditional sectors (fruit and vegetables), who are very widespread in Spain, the south of France, Italy and Greece, could well be damaged by the opening up of trade and will probably be set to oppose the policy if Community protectionism is removed with no provision for transitional flanking measures.
34. The impact on the MPCs would be much more adverse than on the EU but there are different scenarios. Firstly, the MPCs’ comparative advantages are concentrated in the fruit and vegetables sector, the one that Europe is mainly interested in protecting. Secondly, opening up would have several agritrade effects: reduced production of cereals (and other main-crops), meat and milk, increased production of fruit and vegetables (in all the MPCs), olive oil (Tunisia), sugar (Morocco and Egypt) and development of agrifood industries (because of greater access to the European market). Models suggest slightly positive effects for the consumer on account of opportunities for buying food products at lower prices.
35. In the MPCs, however, liberalisation and the opening up of international markets would render both urban and rural households more vulnerable to price fluctuations, while at the same time the poorest families would suffer very serious adverse effects. The fall in prices might increase domestic consumption but would probably destabilise producers of food crops and small farmers. Thus, the consequences of liberalisation would go beyond the purely commercial sphere and affect, both socio-economically and politically, present societies ill-prepared for the opening up of markets, though a minority of farm businesses would benefit (being capitalised, organised, mechanised, input-intensive and geared to export production). Further impoverishment of the rural and farming population (with women the first victims) would have a whole series of effects, beginning with an explosion in unemployment and rural-urban drift or wholesale emigration. Lastly, there would be greater pressure on the environment in areas already made vulnerable by scarcity of water and arable land. Here, even in the event of agricultural liberalisation, full account must be taken of the MPCs’ limited export potential due to growing domestic demand and diminishing availability of land and water (except in Turkey).

3.4. The Euro-Mediterranean Roadmap for Agriculture

36. Since 2006 the European Commission has had a committee of experts on the question with responsibility for implementing the Euro-Mediterranean Roadmap for Agriculture. The roadmap has various strategic focuses – reciprocal liberalisation (the effort has to be shared by the two shores), a gradual approach, chronological asymmetry (it is necessary for the EU to accept slower opening up on the part of the MPCs) and the drawing up of a country-by-country list of exceptions setting out the most sensitive products not to be included in the liberalisation process. In addition, this “roadmap” stresses rural development, promotion of quality products, exploitation of typically Mediterranean products, strengthening of private investment in the agricultural sector and improved access to export markets.
37. In 2006 the European Commission therefore launched bilateral negotiations with some MPCs. They are in progress with Morocco and Israel, and there are excellent prospects of achieving a high degree of agricultural trade liberalisation with the former. An agreement has also been concluded with Jordan. Because of the political situation there has not yet been any move with Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority or Syria. Tunisia and Algeria are warier about the process and have postponed committing themselves. The Commission hopes to begin negotiations with Tunisia in the first half of 2007, though the deadlock with Algeria could continue. Negotiations with Egypt will soon be under way after its signature in March 2007 of the EU-Egypt European Neighbourhood Policy action plan.
38. An important point is that there is provision for accompanying measures, of which the individual MPC would be in charge, under the ENP action plans and the ENP’s financial mechanism, the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). The latter has an overall budget allocation of €11.2 billion for the 2007-13 period. Each MPC is allocated specific aid, as set out in the strategy documents and indicative national programmes (INPs), of which notification was given in March 2007. It is worth mentioning, as regards its multilateral dimension, which has an allocation of around €343 million for the 2007-13 period, that the ENPI does not have any targeted co-operation programme on agricultural and rural questions. The subject of agricultural liberalisation is, however, referred to as a strategic element in priority 02 (“Sustainable economic development”). 
			The ENPI regional strategy
document lays down three priorities: setting up a common Euro-Mediterranean
area for co-operation in justice, security and migration; setting
up a sustainable common economic area aimed at trade liberalisation,
regional commercial integration, infrastructure networks and environment
protection; and setting up a common sphere for socio-cultural exchanges,
with the emphasis on interpersonal cultural exchanges. Within priority
02, however, there is no specific programme concerning agriculture
and rural areas (except the environment programme). See site<a href=''></a>
39. There is thus every indication that the Euro-Mediterranean agricultural negotiation cycle will not be completed before the end of 2007, particularly as the European Commission is simultaneously being ever more demanding with regard to non-tariff aspects of trade, an area where the MPCs are still clearly lagging behind. The year 2007 will thus be a decisive one both for the Mediterranean, with the establishment of the ENP, and for the agricultural question, with negotiations which are already shaping up to be difficult and contrasting. As forecast, the ENP might bring about three types of relations between the EU and the MPCs: deepening, continuation of the status quo, or uncoupling. In agriculture, only Morocco, Jordan and Israel seem at present to be converging with Europe.
40. The western Balkan Mediterranean countries are all members of the Council of Europe. 
joined the Council of Europe on 13 July 1995, Bosnia and Herzegovina
on 24 April 2002, Croatia on 6 November 1996, “the former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia” on 9 November 1995, Serbia (at that time,
Serbia and Montenegro) on 3 April 2003 and Montenegro on 11 May
2007.All of them have also had contractual relations with the European Union for several years as part of the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) with the western Balkans. Most of them have concluded stabilisation and association agreements with the EU. The agreements and available funds vary according to country. 
			See website <a href=''></a> index_fr.htm.The country whose process is most advanced is Croatia, which the EU has granted applicant status and which accordingly has the benefit of pre-accession financial instruments (PHARE, ISPA and SAPARD). 
			PHARE deals with institutional
reinforcement and economic and social cohesion; ISPA with the environment
and transport infrastructure; and SAPARD with agricultural and rural
41. Great advances were undoubtedly made on Mediterranean agricultural liberalisation in 2003-06, after it had been one of the main poor relations of the ENP. The ENP has opened up new perspectives and some countries of the southern Mediterranean could see their agritrade relations with Europe progressing. However, the opening up of agricultural and agrifood trade should not obscure the importance of keeping the process under control, given the many predicted commercial and socio-economic impacts.

4. The other institutional players and agricultural debate in the Mediterranean

42. After our look at European Commission policies in the Mediterranean 
			The European Commission
has a central role in the ENP machinery under three headings: negotiation
of ENP association agreements and action plans with the MPCs, management
of the financial programmes devoted to Euro-Mediterranean co-operation
(formerly MEDA, now EMPI), setting the annual apportionments per
sector and geographically and preparing and following up all the
ministerial and technical meetings punctuating the process (as provider
of secretarial services to the EMP).this section will present the range of major institutional players present in the Mediterranean and working for agricultural, rural and food co-operation. We shall give only outline descriptions and the picture will be somewhat simplified.

4.1. World players

43. Three institutions of world stature are actively engaged with Mediterranean agricultural issues: the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
a. The FAO is present in the region in its main areas of expertise: food security, fisheries and aquaculture, trade in agricultural products, technical co-operation, agricultural management training, and management of natural resources and water. A regional office for the Near East (the RNE) has been operating in Cairo since 1947 and in fact covers all of the southern Mediterranean. Its functions match those of the FAO. 
website <a href=''></a>In 1996 a sub-regional office for North Africa (SNEA) 
			See website <a href=''></a>was established in Tunis with the aim of strengthening the agricultural sector in the countries of the sub-region and, in particular, advising on general policy, institutional consolidation and enhancement of human resources. Lastly the FAO has several offices in countries of the southern Mediterranean (Morocco, Jordan and Syria). The countries of the northern shore are represented in the Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia (REU), established in Rome in 1961. 
			See website <a href=''></a>The Regional Conference for Europe and the European Commission on Agriculture meet as part of it.
b. The WTO is at the heart of Mediterranean agritrade issues. All the countries of the northern shore are WTO member states, and so are quite a few countries of the southern and eastern shore – Egypt, Israel, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey were admitted in 1995, Jordan in 2000. Algeria is awaiting admission. Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority have observer status. The paradox to which most of the MPCs draw attention regarding multilateral trade negotiations is that the wealthy countries (which include the EU ones) continue to support and protect their agriculture whereas the poorest countries (including some countries of the southern Mediterranean) are committed to reducing their support and liberalising their agricultural trade. A point worth noting is that the Euro-Mediterranean does not exist within WTO, and WTO has no Mediterranean regional dimension. 
			See Appendix V.
c. The World Bank is present in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region 
website <a href=''></a>and runs programmes concerning, in particular, rural development, agriculture, water and the environment. Its work also takes in all the challenges to do with governance and socio-economic development in the countries of that region.

4.2. Parliamentary players

44. In Europe several parliamentary institutions are doing positive work on Mediterranean questions: the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, the European Parliament and the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly.
a. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has 636 members from the national parliaments of the 47 member countries (including all the northern Mediterranean countries, one of which is Turkey). Its Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs deals, in particular, with agriculture, rural development, food, fisheries and forestry. 
			See Resolutions 1331 (2003) on challenges for Mediterranean agriculture and 1446
(2005) on co-operation and sustainable development in the Adriatic
Basin and Recommendations
1731 (2006) on Europe’s contribution to improving water management,
1761 (2006) on preventing forest fires and 1781 (2007) on agriculture
and illegal employment in Europe.Other committees likewise deal with Mediterranean issues within their own fields of responsibility. 
			See Recommendations 1590 (2003) on cultural co-operation between Europe and the south
Mediterranean countries, 1618 (2003) on migrants in irregular employment
in the agricultural sector of southern European countries, 1630
(2003) on erosion of the Mediterranean coastline: implications for
tourism, 1724 (2005) on the Council of Europe and the European Neighbourhood
Policy of the European Union, 1737 (2006) on new trends and challenges
for Euro-Mediterranean migration policies, 1753 (2006) on external
relations of the Council of Europe.
b. The European Parliament, with its 785 members, played an important role in the signing of the Euro-Mediterranean association agreements concluded with the MPCs since 1995. It also guarantees a follow-up to the Barcelona Process by its Committee on Foreign Affairs and in plenary. In addition, the European Parliament’s interparliamentary delegations together with the member states of the Barcelona Process organise regular meetings and visits in the area. The European Parliament has also made a large input to the interparliamentary Euro-Mediterranean dialogue by creating a Parliamentary Euro-Mediterranean Forum, which includes representatives from national parliaments of the southern Mediterranean.
c. The 2003 inception of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) made it possible to bring parliamentarians from north and south together for intensified debate. 
			The EMPA is made up
of members appointed by national parliaments of EU member states,
the national parliaments of the 10 MPCs and the European Parliament.
It has a maximum of 240 members, 120 of whom are European (75 from EU
national parliaments and 45 from the European Parliament) and 120
from the national parliaments of the MPCs, so as to guarantee north-south
parity. It is organised into national delegations and the European
Parliament delegation. It meets one or more times a year.It is now the EMP’s parliamentary organ, with an advisory role. It gives parliamentary impetus, input and backing to consolidation and development of the EMP, delivering views on all matters to do with the EMPA, including the implementation of association agreements. Lastly it adopts non-binding resolutions and recommendations to the Euro-Mediterranean ministerial conferences. 
			The Euro-Mediterranean
ministerial conferences are sectoral. The main one is the conference
of foreign ministers of the Euro-Mediterranean area, which is held
approximately every 18 months. Since 1995 it has met in Barcelona (November
1995), Malta (April 1997), Stuttgart (April 1999), Marseille (November
2000), Valencia (April 2002), Naples (December 2003), Luxembourg
(May 2005), Barcelona (November 2005) and 
(November 2006).
45. For the record, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly and the European Parliament, in association with the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) Mediterranean Committee and the CIHEAM, instigated the Euro-Mediterranean conferences on agriculture held in Strasbourg, the first of which took place on 14 and 15 June 2001 and the second on 28 and 29 September 2006. The specific aim of the conferences was to take stock of trends in Euro-Mediterranean co-operation in agriculture and rural development and move joint thinking on new and remaining challenges a stage further. 
			See website <a href=''></a> agri/default_fr.htm.

4.3. Other regional players

46. Six other regional players deal with agricultural and rural matters in the Mediterranean: the CIHEAM, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the IFAP, the Blue Plan and the League of Arab States.
a. The CIHEAM, a joint Council of Europe-OECD initiative, was set up on 21 May 1962. 
website <a href=''></a> It is an intergovernmental organisation which at present has 13 member states from the Mediterranean Basin (Albania, Algeria, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey). It is organised around a general secretariat located in Paris and four Mediterranean agronomic institutes (Bari, Chania, Montpellier and Saragossa). As a monitor of agricultural and agrifood policies the CIHEAM plays a practical part in sustainable agricultural development in the region. It had a pioneering role in the emergence of a Mediterranean research policy. It is currently working towards a Mediterranean area for agronomic research and training. Central to its work are three basic functions (training, research and co-operation). It focuses on agriculture, food and rural development in the Mediterranean. Since 1999 it has held twice-yearly meetings of the agriculture ministers of its 13 member countries (the latest was in Cairo in December 2006).
b. The EIB has long been present in the Mediterranean, granting a series of strategic loans more particularly in the fields of infrastructure, energy and environment protection. Since October 2002 the EIB’s activities in the MPCs have been grouped together within the Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership Facility (EMIPF), whose purpose is to help the MPCs meet the challenges of economic and social modernisation and improved regional integration, in particular with an eye to setting up a customs union with the EU around 2010. As a priority the EMIPF finances projects conducted by the private sector, whether local initiatives or involving direct foreign investment. In 2003 the EIB opened a Mediterranean regional office in Cairo. More recently two local offices have opened in Tunisia and Morocco. In 2002-2006 the EIB granted some €6 billion in finance to seven Mediterranean projects. The EMIPF predicts an overall budget of €8.7 billion for allocation to MPCs (other than Israel) in 2007-2013.
c. The OECD, which has a number of Mediterranean member countries (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Turkey), is actively involved with agriculture, food, rural development, fisheries and the environment. In the Middle East/North Africa region its activities focus mainly on governance, promotion of investment and analysis of migratory flows.
d. The IFAP is the world organisation of farmers. It was set up in 1946 and represents over 600 million family farm businesses belonging to 115 national organisations in 80 countries. It has a Mediterranean committee 
website <a href=''></a>whose work is based on lobbying of European institutions, setting up platforms for exchanges of regional agricultural ideas and experience and promoting technical co-operation not only between member agricultural organisations but also with some of its partners, such as international organisations, research institutes and agriculture co-operation and development bodies. Its work currently focuses on three areas – diversification of production, improvement of product quality and improved water management.
e. The Blue Plan operates as a regional activity centre under the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP), which itself comes under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). 
			See website <a href=''></a>As a tool for forward-looking analysis and research concerned with the future of the Mediterranean Basin, it is particularly active in the fields of environment, water, rural areas and forests, marine and coastal matters and energy. It takes part in the Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable Development, instituted in 1996, and played a key role in drawing up the 2005 Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development.
f. The League of Arab States set up the Arab Organisation for Agricultural Development (AOAD) in 1970. This has several aims: making best use of natural and human resources in the agricultural sector, improving agricultural efficiency and productivity, promoting agricultural integration of the Arab countries, developing agricultural production with a view to greater self-sufficiency, facilitating agricultural trade between the Arab countries, promoting the setting up of agricultural enterprises and industries and improvement of living conditions. AOAD membership comprises the 22 members of the League of Arab States. 
the countries of the southern Mediterranean are members of it, as
are Lebanon and Syria. See website <a href=''></a>
47. This overview of the main players in the Mediterranean whose activities and functions are concerned with agricultural and rural matters would be incomplete without mention of United States policy in the region. The United States, as a strategic power in the Mediterranean, has in particular concluded a number of free trade agreements with countries of the southern Mediterranean, including Israel, Jordan and, more recently, Morocco. The agreement with Morocco includes key sections to do with agriculture. Interestingly, Morocco is currently negotiating liberalisation of its agricultural trade with the EU on the basis of the concessions in the 2004 agreement with the United States, which took actual effect in 2006. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is likewise present in some Mediterranean countries (Egypt, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco) in matters to do with rural development and management of natural resources.

5. Mediterranean agriculture – the future

48. Framing future scenarios for the Mediterranean region is risky, since its famously unpredictable and turbulent character makes it more than likely that any forecast will need correcting later. If pessimism is the fashion, then the Mediterranean theatre offers it – alas – plenty to feed on. In fact, one of the area’s chief problems is lack of a strategic vision, combining pragmatism, conviction and a shared sense of purpose: all too often, back, not forward, to the future is the pattern.
49. Taking things already said and points already made as a basis, we can sketch three contrasting scenarios for the agricultural and rural situation in the Mediterranean in 2020. These are simply possible futures which may, quite modestly, prompt people to (re)act and try to make the region’s actual future more promising.

5.1. The present trend scenario: a Mediterranean undermined by emergent, intractable divisions

50. This scenario is an extension of current trends, that is to say a Mediterranean at the heart of international and geopolitical disorder, treated with growing suspicion by Europe, and lamed by the southern countries’ inability to introduce reforms and work together.
51. There are also certain factors which tell against development in the Mediterranean: the region is suffering from distortions caused by the globalisation of trade, and missing the pathway to growth which globalisation theoretically provides. Intercultural dialogue is becoming harder, since the culture of dialogue is being lost. Spectator and not player in a world where new geo-economic balances are being struck, the Mediterranean is being shaped by asymmetries and antagonisms. Inequalities are developing between north and south, and within certain regions as well. Little by little, the two shores of the Mediterranean seem to be turning their backs on each other. This situation generates tensions and frustrations, and mortgages the region’s chances of making a historic recovery. With an uncertain future and a thankless present, Mediterranean societies look nostalgically back to a far-distant past, when their region was the world’s centre – and dynamo.
52. Both structural and circumstantial, these poor weather conditions are compounded by the dense fog which hangs over Euro-Mediterranean co-operation. Abandoning the multilateral approach agreed in Barcelona, the European Neighbourhood Policy is now focusing on bilateralism, at the risk of permanently compromising prospects for progressive regional integration. With the Mediterranean countries developing unevenly, the Euro-Mediterranean area is being put together on the à la carte principle.
53. In this situation, agricultural and rural challenges are not among regional co-operation’s strategic priorities. Decisive they may be for all the countries on the Mediterranean seaboard, but these problems are being tackled in commercial terms only, and by a minority of states. Trade between those states and the EU is gradually being liberalised: phased adjustments and lists of sensitive products are being agreed. But none of this offers a basis for a Mediterranean agrifoodstuffs system capable of weighing in the balance at world level.
54. In a Mediterranean with no ideal future to strive for, the only parts which ultimately matter are the useful, globalised areas – the cities, the coastline and the tourist locations. In spite of their importance, rural areas are neglected. This useful, globalised Mediterranean behaves as if its countryside and country-dwellers were now surplus to requirements.

5.2. The worst-case scenario: a Mediterranean of tensions

55. The second possible future is the worst-case scenario, marked by high-speed modernisation of Mediterranean agriculture. Although it has brilliant urban civilisations, the Mediterranean still has peasant societies. Some countries remain profoundly rural today, and others are indelibly marked by having been profoundly rural in the past. Attempts are being made to duplicate some of the approaches to agricultural modernisation once used in Europe, for example, rapid mechanisation or a drastic reduction in agricultural manpower. But the problem is that minimum employment in agriculture means maximum unemployment in rural areas. Little by little, something totally new is happening: an impoverished, dispossessed and disorientated peasantry is simply disappearing. High birth rates and low agricultural productivity are aggravating the risks of serious food shortages and social crisis. These agricultural problems are compounded by environmental tensions and the threat of conflict over access to water, which is more coveted than ever. Political and religious extremism feeds on the socio-economic vulnerability and anxieties of rural areas.
56. One dramatic development in the south is final severing of the ties between town and countryside. The hinterland is cut off from society, excluded from economic growth, forgotten by the public authorities, and so doomed to poverty and isolation. Peasant communities are destabilised, and are left with no option but migration to cities or to Europe.
57. In this scenario, the divisions in Mediterranean societies are deepened. Various crisis-causing factors are accentuated: natural resources are over-exploited, poverty spreads, unemployment rises and the economy stagnates. Conflicts persist or intensify. This is the way things are going on the hapless Mediterranean seaboard, where divisions are accumulating, separating areas of poverty from pockets of prosperity in an explosive and claustrophobic geopolitical confrontation.
58. Europe, which is becoming less ambitious politically, and also less influential internationally, views these regular upheavals on its southern periphery with alarm. The EU’s Mediterranean countries are unable to focus its attention on the geopolitical area which bounds it to the south. In most of the MPCs, political reform is lagging, and there is a widening gap between governing elites and large sections of the population who want more openness and freedom.
59. As a result of all this, Euro-Mediterranean co-operation flounders and confidence disappears. Security becomes the prime concern, and the door to the future is locked. The Euro-Mediterranean project is dropped, and no one pauses to calculate the strategic cost of failing to achieve partnership. At a time when major regional centres are developing worldwide, Europe and the Mediterranean simply choose to ignore each other. Fading by degrees from the global geo-economic landscape, the Mediterranean becomes a sounding board for the major ills which afflict the planet.

5.3. The positive action scenario: a Mediterranean based on collective effort and solidarity

60. This scenario involves resolute political action to give the Mediterranean a secure position in the 21st century. It offers a historic vision of the future, based on the real, and not merely the desirable. In fact, global dynamics and growing strategic interdependence are realities, and will force Europe and the Mediterranean to work together – if they want to retain their vitality. This is necessarily a long-term process, but it needs to start now to produce visible effects by 2020.
61. This scenario is subject to certain conditions. First, we need to strengthen the partnership dimension of Euro-Mediterranean co-operation, which should be more visible and play a more concrete role in the development of the southern countries, while allowing Europe to continue to act as a separate entity on the international geopolitical and economic scene. This means that Europe and the south Mediterranean countries must pursue convergent aims. Secondly, we must restore confidence between the peoples: the Euro-Mediterranean region will become a reality only if it plays a positive part in the daily lives of individuals, and so wins recognition as a responsible, solidarity-based process. Thirdly, we must make a consistent and resolute choice of strategic priorities for the Euro-Mediterranean region. Here, we shall certainly have to start with areas of common interest, where we face the same challenges, and where opportunities for mutual development really exist. Fourthly, we shall have to maximise the region’s human potential by providing better education and training. If we do all of this, the Mediterranean will stop being a conflict zone and become a project.
62. From this standpoint, agriculture may bring the two sides together and offer an effective platform for building the Euro-Mediterranean alliance, employing bold strategies based on complementarities, special characteristics and challenges present in the region. Just as agriculture played a driving role in reconciling European countries after the two world wars, Euro-Mediterranean agricultural co-operation can reasonably be expected to open the way to progress on the path to a peaceful future. For this to happen, however, the region still needs a more favourable political and economic climate – and more dynamic links with the globalisation process.
63. This scenario brings Mediterranean agriculture onto the international scene, thanks to progressive alignment of European and southern positions at WTO. Mediterranean agriculture protects itself, but also opens itself to the outside world, where quality, authenticity and a distinctive character are the hallmarks of its produce. This process is sustained by three principal things:
  • mobilisation of all those active in farming and the rural world, inter alia by giving private operators and local communities (decentralised co-operation) a bigger role – not forgetting active participation of civil society alongside producers, and improved organisation of the agricultural sector;
  • a genuine strategic plan for rural development in the south Mediterranean, which diversifies activities, strengthens social cohesion, expands infrastructure and reconnects countryside and towns, all with a view to sustainability;
  • responsible management of natural resources and preservation of the environment to ensure sustainable development, which should not simply serve to correct the effects of globalisation, but provide a powerful means of bringing rural communities out of their present undeveloped state.
64. This vision of future convergence would not be complete without a mention of a possible second positive action scenario, that is, “intra-Mediterranean mobilisation”. The recent past suggests that not all EU countries will necessarily get involved in Euro-Mediterranean regional integration. However, location and proximity make this project meaningful for the EU’s southern members (Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain), who may well choose to act on their own, but collectively, to deepen and expand co-operation with the countries on the southern shore. In this second scenario, the Mediterranean countries would mobilise among themselves, and this increased co-operation would be accepted and encouraged by the European Union.

6. Conclusions

65. Many futures are possible for the Mediterranean Basin. However, as we have seen, three contrasting scenarios seem conceivable. The first is based on current trends, and looks ahead to the problems which failure to relaunch Euro-Mediterranean multilateral co-operation will inevitably cause. The second is the worst-case scenario, in which the Mediterranean region is at odds with itself, and fear and withdrawal shape the future. The third, proactive scenario is one in which Europe and the Mediterranean prefer working together to declining separately. This pragmatic alliance focuses on agriculture because agriculture is central to the region’s identity and offers a strategic area for co-operation.
66. If Europe wants a real international role, it cannot afford to ignore the Mediterranean Basin, which tomorrow may provide an ideal testing ground for a new kind of globalisation. Europe and the Mediterranean have become so interdependent strategically that they obviously need to forge special partnerships. Groundbreaking co-operation with the countries of the south will allow Europe to play a part in globalisation, and explore prospects for a type of sustainable co-development in which human, social and environmental variables are quite as important as economic and political factors. Responding to the region’s urgent requirements, reflecting its special features and boldly implemented, this scenario might centre on agriculture.
67. The Mediterranean’s agricultural and rural problems are multidimensional, and Euro-Mediterranean mobilisation is needed to solve them. Agriculture is the basis of Mediterranean identity, and decisive for the region’s societies. Convergent action in this sphere could result in close co-operation, mobilising people and resources on the basis of solidarity, human sympathy and mutual benefits for both sides of the Mediterranean.

Appendix 1  


Demographic change in the Mediterranean region (1990-2020)


Total population (thousands) Medium variant


Demographic growth








3 289

3 062

3 216

3 420


Bosnia and Herzegovina

4 308

3 797

3 942

3 833









4 517

4 506

4 532

4 369



39 303

40 717

43 993

44 419



56 735

59 278

61 535

62 954



10 160

10 975

11 205

11 217



56 719

57 715

58 176

57 132















9 983

10 225

10 712

10 902



9 569

10 131

9 925

9 981



1 927

1 984

2 001

1 972



57 300

68 234

78 081

86 774



25 291

30 463

35 420

40 624



55 673

67 285

81 133

94 834



4 514

6 084

7 315

8 296



3 254

4 972

6 338

7 556



2 741

3 398

3 773

4 140



4 334

5 306

6 439

7 538



24 696

29 231

33 832

38 327



12 843

16 813

21 432

26 029



8 219

9 563

10 639

11 604


Palestinian territories

2 154

3 150

4 330

5 694


Total Mediterranean

399 157

448 737

499 861

543 624


North shore

198 138

204 238

211 129

212 208


South and east shore

201 019

244 499

288 732

331 416



5 279 519

6 085 572

6 842 923

7 577 889


Mediterranean as a percentage of the world population






Sources: Our calculations, based on United Nations “World population prospects 2004”, medium variants

Appendix 2  


The active agricultural population in the Mediterranean (1965-2004)


Active agricultural population (thousands)









Bosnia and Herzegovina













4 269

1 589

1 113


3 735

1 108



1 599




5 202

1 694

1 099

“The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”









1 314





1 218







11 335

13 826

14 854


2 125

2 186

2 800


7 095

7 996

8 594


















3 200

4 186

4 296



1 331

1 636





Total Mediterranean

42 971

39 435

39 735

North shore

16 781

8 620

6 157

South and east shore

26 440

30 815

33 578

Source: FAOSTAT.

Appendix 3  


The economic situation of Mediterranean agriculture (2004)

Agricultural balance of trade of the EU Mediterranean partner countries with the EU25 in 2004 (in $ billions)


- 1.440


- 0.519




- 0.208


- 0.532




- 0.227







Total excluding Turkey

- 1.500

Agricultural trade of the Mediterranean partner countries (MPCs) in 2004






Arab MPCs

(Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, and Tunisia)

Volume in $ millions)

14 221

5 105

-9 116

EU 25

4 358


2 584


-1 774

rest of the world

9 863

2 521




All Arab MPCs

+ Israel and Turkey

Volume in $ millions)

21 305

12 503

-8 802

EU 25

5 908


6 560



rest of the world

1 5397

5 943





Volume in $ millions)

4 659

5 968

1 309

EU 25



2 998


2 152

rest of the world

3 813

2 970




Source: Our calculations, based on FAOSTAT.

Appendix 4  


Political and trade agreements in the Mediterranean region


EUROMED Association agreement EU/MPCs


Arab League Greater Arab Free Trade Area

Agadir Agreement

Bilateral agreements MPCs/USA

Kyoto Protocol



Free trade area by 2010

3-5 year action plans (APs) followed eventually by the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)

Arab free trade area in 2008

Arab free trade area in 2008

US-Middle East Trade Initiative – Free Trade Area


of greenhouse

gas emissions









Entry into force




– ratification

under way


February 2005



Agreement signed on 22.4.2002

entry into force 1.9.2005 effective in 2017


Non signatory


Ratified in 2005


Palestinian Authority

Interim agreement signed on 24.2.1997 entry into force 1.7.1997

AP signed on 9.12.2004

Non signatory





Agreement signed on 25.6.2001

entry into force 1.6.2004 effective in 2016

AP signed on 6.3.2007

Signed and implementing the programme



Ratified in 2005

Accession on 30.6.1995 G20 – G90


Agreement signed on 20.11.1995

entry into force 1.6.2000 effective in 2012

AP signed on 9.12.2004


Signed and entered into force on 22.4.1989

Ratified in 2004

Accession on 21.4.1995 G10


Agreement signed on 24.11.1997

entry into force 1.5.2002 effective in 2014

AP signed on 9.12.2004

Signed and implementing the programme


Signed on 1.7.1997 entry into force 1.1.2001

Ratified in 2003

Accession on 11.4.2000


Agreement signed on 17.6.2002 (ratification under way)

Interim agreement in force since 1.3.2003

AP signed on 19.1.2007

Signed and implementing the programme



Agreement signed on 26.2.1996

entry into force 1.3.2000 effective in 2012

AP signed on 9.12.2004

Signed and implementing the programme


Signed on 14.6.2004 entry into force 1.2.2005

Ratified in 2002

Accession on 1.1.1995 G90


Agreement signed on 19.10.2004 (ratification under way)


Signed and implementing the programme



Agreement signed on 17.7.1995

entry into force 1.3.1998 effective in 2010

AP signed on 9.12.2004

Signed and implementing the programme


Under consideration

Ratified in 2003

Accession on 29.3.1995 G90


Agreement establishing the final stage of the customs union signed 6.3.1995 entry into force 31.12.1995


Accession on 26.3.1995 G33

Appendix 5  


The Mediterranean and the WTO

Firstly, there is a certain asymmetry between the negotiating positions of the EU and the Mediterranean partner countries (MPCs). The EU negotiates en bloc for all its member states, while the MPCs negotiate separately and individually. There are significant differences in the latter’s negotiating positions, which sometimes place them in opposing negotiating blocs. Moreover, from Cancún to Hong Kong, countries such as Brazil and India have benefited much more from the WTO negotiations than developing countries such as the MPCs.

Additionally, for the MPCs there are two quite separate aspects to the multilateral negotiations: access to the markets of the EU (their main trading partner) and the way Europe treats the other developing countries. The MPCs face a dilemma with regard to agricultural trade.

  • On the one hand, they seek better access to European markets for Mediterranean products, such as fruit and vegetables, and for processed products, in which they enjoy a comparative advantage, while at the same time facing the risk that multilateral liberalisation will enable other countries to seize some of their market shares for certain of these products, since their preference margins could be eroded.
  • On the other hand, they are defending their special treatment and safeguards for the trade in cereals, meat and milk products, in which they are not competitive. As they tend to be net importers of these products, they are also afraid that a reduction in EU subsidies will lead to a rise in prices and thus in their food bills, which are already fairly substantial. A rise in world prices, particularly of cereals, is likely to lead to heavy pressure on MPCs to maintain or even increase their consumer subsidies or to reduce customs duties on these products, with significant budgetary consequences.
The heterogeneous nature of MPC interests is reflected in their membership of the various WTO negotiating groups.
  • Egypt is the only MPC in the powerful G20 – in which Brazil and India play leading roles – founded by developing countries with agricultural exporting capacity, which therefore have an interest in greater liberalisation.
  • Israel belongs to the G10, the most defensive group in terms of agricultural protection.
  • Turkey has joined the G33, the so-called “friends of special products”, for which they are calling for special treatment in the developing countries and a special safeguard mechanism, while also strongly opposing farm subsidies in rich countries.
  • Morocco and Tunisia are members of the group of 90 countries that share a concern about the erosion of preferences, since all of them enjoy preferential access to the markets of rich countries, particularly those of the EU, on which they are heavily dependent. These countries want such preferential arrangements to continue for as long as developed countries offer agricultural support in areas that affect their products.

As different parts of the world start to coalesce around a number of major regional blocs, should Europe and the southern Mediterranean countries form an alliance within the WTO? How feasible is it to establish an economically integrated and liberalised Euro-Mediterranean area without some convergence of positions in the WTO between Europe and the countries of the south? Could an agricultural pact between Europe and the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries at the international trade talks help to maintain a reasonable income for farmers on both shores and to develop Euro-Mediterranean food production of a high standard at competitive prices? Such a prospect might lead to the emergence of a forum to consider how best to exploit the specific strengths of and secure a balanced relationship between Euro-Mediterranean products.

Appendix 6  


Index of abbreviations

AOAD Arab Organization for Agricultural Development

Barcelona Declaration Declaration signed on 27 and 28 November 1995 by the EU15, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Cyprus, Malta, Egypt, Palestinian Authority.

Blue Plan Regional activity centre of the MAP (UNEP)

CAP Common Agricultural Policy (EU)

CIHEAM International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies EIB European Investment Bank

EMFTA Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area

EMIPF Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership Facility

EMP Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EU)

EMPA Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly

ENP European Neighbourhood Policy (EU)

ENPI European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument

FAO United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

IFAP International Federation of Agricultural Producers

ISPA Pre-accession financial instrument dealing with the environment and transport infrastructure (EU) LAS League of Arab States

MAP Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP)

MPC Mediterranean partner countries (EU)

MSSD Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development

OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

PHARE Pre-accession financial instrument dealing with institutional reinforcement and economic and social cohesion (EU)

SAP Stabilisation and Association Process

SAPARD Pre-accession financial instrument dealing with agricultural and rural development SEMC South and eastern Mediterranean countries

UNEP United Nations Environment Programme

WB World Bank

WTO World Trade Organization


Reporting committee: Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs.

Reference to committee: Doc. 11089 and Reference No. 3299 of 22 January 2007.

Draft resolution adopted unanimously by the committee on 1 June 2007.

Members of the committee: Mr Walter Schmied (Chairperson), Mr Alan Meale (1st Vice-Chairperson), Ms Elsa Papadimitriou (2nd Vice-Chairperson), Mr Pasquale Nessa (3rd Vice-Chairperson), Mr Ruhi Açikgöz, Mr Gerolf Annemans, Mr Ivo Banac (alternate: Mr Miljenko Dori´c), Mr Tommaso Barbato, Mr Rony Bargetze, Mr Jean-Marie Bockel, Mr Mauro Chiaruzzi, Mrs Pikria Chikhradze, Mr Valeriu Cosarciuc, Mr Osman Cos¸kunog˘ lu, Mr Alain Cousin, Mr Taulant Dedja, Mr Hubert Deittert, Mr Tomasz Dudzin´ ski (alternate: Mr Dariusz Lipin´ ski), Mr József Ékes, Mr Bill Etherington, Mr Nigel Evans, Mr Ivàn Farkas, Mr Adolfo Fernández Aguilar, Mr György Frunda, Ms Eva Garcia Pastor, Mr Peter Götz, Mr Vladimir Grachev, Mr Rafael Huseynov, Mr Stanislaw Huskowski, Mr Jean Huss, Mr Fazail Ibrahimli, Mr Ilie Ilas¸cu, Mr Mustafa IIicali, Mrs Fatme Ilyaz, Mr Ivan Ivanov, Mr Bjørn Jacobsen, Mr Gediminas Jakavonis, Mrs Danuta Jaz/lowiecka, Mr Dagny´ Jónsdóttir, Mrs Liana Kanelli, Mr Karen Karapetyan, Mr Victor Kolesnikov, Mr Juha Korkeaoja, Mr Gerhard Kurzmann, Mr Ewald Lindinger, Mr François Loncle, Mr Aleksei Lotman, Ms Kerstin Lundgren, Mr Theo Maissen (alternate: Mr John Dupraz), Mr José Mendes Bota, Mrs Maria Manuela de Melo, Mr Gilbert Meyer, Mr Vladimir Mokry, Mr Stefano Morselli, Mr Zˇ arko Obradovi´c, Mr Pieter Omtzigt, Ms Gordana Pop Lazi´c, Mr Ivan Popescu, Mr Cezar Florin Preda, Mr Jakob Presecˇnik, Mr Lluís Maria de Puig, Mr Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, Mrs Adoración Quesada Bravo (alternate: Mr Iñaki Txueka), Mr Kamal Qureshi, Mr Dario Rivolta, Mrs Anta Ruga-te, Mr Fidias Sarikas, Mr Hermann Scheer, Mr Ladislav Skopal, Mr Christophe Spiliotis-Saquet, Mr Rainder Steenblock, Mr Vilmos Szabó, Mr Nikolay Tulaev, Mr Victor Tykhonov, Mr Tomas Ulehla, Mr Geert Versnick, Mr Rudolf Vis, Mr Harm Evert Waalkens, Mr G.V. Wright, Mr Mykola Yankovsky, Mrs Maryam Yazdanfar, Mr Blagoj Zasov.

NB: The names of those members present at the meeting are printed in bold.

See 20th Sitting, 25 June 2007 (adoption of the draft resolution, as amended); and Resolution 1556.