Some Of The Main Challenges Facing The Mediterranean Region – Analysis


The Mediterranean region in question

The Mediterranean is unique in its historical and geographical specificities, as well as in its natural and cultural heritage. At the crossroads of three continents, with Europe to the North, Western Asia to the East, and North Africa to the South, it constitutes an area of multiple exchanges of strategic importance both at the regional (Euro-Mediterranean) and global levels. It is also an area where the major global imbalances (environmental, social, and economic) are represented in a concentrated and exacerbated way. (1)

However, the Mediterranean is not uniform, as shown by the dichotomies that can exist between the industrialized countries of the north and the so-called developing and emerging countries of the south. While significant progress has been made in the south and east over the past twenty years, situations of instability and significant inequalities persist. (2)

The Mediterranean countries are facing major problems: global warming, access to water, employment, migration, terrorism, development, conflicts, and demography. The complexity of the challenges facing this region requires a comprehensive and decisive approach.

The Mediterranean is a strategic area that concentrates all the world’s challenges: security, geopolitical, economic, migratory, environmental, and energy issues. Perceived sometimes as a zone of opportunities, sometimes as a vector of crises, the Mediterranean basin is inexorably coveted by a myriad of actors, ranging from the great powers traditionally established in the region to regional actors and international organizations- all vying with each other to extend their influence. (3)

It was in the Middle East that Turkey first expressed its will to power, thus reviving the specter of Ottoman influence in the Mediterranean, before the arrival to power of Mustapha Kemal Atatürk putting an end to it. Thanks to its massive return to the region, Erdogan’s Turkey has moved from a policy of soft power to a policy of hard power. This newfound ambition, which has been characterized by a jump in economic growth, the country’s return to extraversion, the promotion of mediation at its borders, the establishment of free trade agreements, the expansion of its diplomatic network (4th in the world), entry into the UN and the rebalancing of its alliances. Rebalancing its alliances has largely contributed to the electoral success of the AKP, the Party of Justice and Development considered a model of success in the region for a Muslim-majority country, Turkey is competing for regional leadership. As such, it invests militarily in several Middle Eastern theaters, such as Syria and Libya, and politically supports regional parties affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, as in Tunisia and Egypt. Notwithstanding its hegemonic aspirations in the Mediterranean and Africa, Turkey is gradually isolating itself: its relations with NATO, and the EU have deteriorated and its rapprochement with Russia is variable. (4)

The end of the Cold War has once again highlighted the place and centrality of the Mediterranean in the European geopolitical and geostrategic context. Since 1989, the Israeli-Palestinian issue, the question of migratory flows and religious fundamentalism, the stakes of oil or hydrocarbons, and the ecological safeguard of the Mediterranean are all elements that justify a renewed interest in this geographical area. 

In the first half of the 1990s, four bodies initiated by international organizations were created, including the Mediterranean dialogue of the OSCE, the Mediterranean dialogue of NATO, and the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue of the EU. Despite numerous European initiatives – the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the Union for the Mediterranean, and the ENP – aimed at building confidence, and creating frameworks for dialogue, the heterogeneity, and divergence of views among all the partners constitute a difficulty. But it is above all the lack of leadership in the Middle East peace process that seems to have prevented a qualitative leap in exchanges and by extension the implementation of real cooperation in the field of security in the Mediterranean. Another divergence concerns the issues of fundamental freedoms, human rights, and democracy, which were perceived before the Arab Spring as attempts at European interference in their internal affairs. In addition, the EU is criticized for its excessive focus on controlling migration flows and managing issues such as fundamentalism and terrorism. 

Notwithstanding the efforts of the European Commission and the High Representative for the CFSP to reinvigorate ties with the Mediterranean countries (notably since 2011 with “A Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity with the South of the Mediterranean”  (5) and with the renewed ENP in 2015), the EU has been experiencing considerable internal difficulties.

NATO’s perspective is different and mostly focused on military and security issues. Because of its strong dependence on the United States, it is often associated, or even identified, in some countries and among some populations of the southern shore of the Mediterranean, with the American policy. Its action has also resulted in the implementation of confidence-building measures, including political measures on the one hand, which take the form of high-level meetings, and practical measures on the other. The latter are extensive and include training, seminars, and workshops for the benefit of senior officers of the countries participating in the Mediterranean Dialogue, the NATO Defense College in Rome, civil emergency planning, consultations on terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, port calls by NATO naval forces in countries participating in the Mediterranean Dialogue, or the participation of military personnel from some Mediterranean countries in NATO-coordinated operations. (6)

Migration issues

The migration phenomenon has long been considered one of the major security problems in the Mediterranean. The economic precariousness of the countries on the southern shore because of unemployment, population growth, conflicts, and climate change are the main causes.

According to Gérard-François Dumont: (7)

[‘’The Mediterranean is a major migratory area in the world due to a combination of many factors, ranging from those arising from geographical proximity to climatic factors, including various geopolitical factors. Residential migration takes place in an ambivalent political context, while the migratory nature of all Mediterranean countries is undergoing a kind of innovation. The interactions between geopolitics and migration are important, since geopolitics is both a cause and consequence of migration.

Among the various explanatory causes of Mediterranean migratory movements, the weight of geography and economics should be emphasized first. In addition, a whole range of explanatory factors stem from geopolitical factors, both internal and external.’’]

‘’La Méditerranée est un espace migratoire majeur dans le monde sous l’effet de la combinaison de nombreux facteurs, allant de ceux découlant de la proximité géographique aux facteurs climatiques, en passant notamment par divers facteurs géopolitiques. Les migrations résidentielles s’y déroulent dans un contexte politique ambivalent, tandis que la nature migratoire de tous les pays de la Méditerranée connaît une sorte de novation. Les interactions entre le géopolitique et le migratoire sont importantes, puisque la géopolitique est à la fois cause et conséquence des migrations.

2Parmi les différentes causes explicatives des mouvements migratoires méditerranéens, il convient d’abord de souligner le poids de la géographie et de l’économie. En outre, tout un pan explicatif provient de facteurs géopolitiques, internes ou externes.’’

In recent years, the phenomenon has worsened due to the instability of some Arab countries. The wars in Libya and Syria have caused the increase of unprecedented waves of migration to Europe. This reality has led European countries and regional institutions to secure and militarize borders, including re-establishing border controls in the Schengen area, closing some sea lanes, establishing several refugee camps, and tightening national asylum legislation. 

European states have externalized their responsibility by signing agreements with countries of departure, such as the agreement between the European Union (EU) and Turkey to block the departure of smugglers’ boats, and the agreements between Italy and the EU with Libya (8) to train Libyan coastguards and extend the maritime zone where they have exclusive responsibility for rescuing migrants. (9)

The world is increasingly faced with transnational security problems, such as the migration crisis in the Mediterranean, which no country can tackle alone. The lack of cooperation and solidarity between states aggravates these problems and encourages the emergence of new challenges. Thus, the Mediterranean basin has become the most dangerous maritime border in the world in recent years, with the International Organization for Migration recording 20,014 deaths and disappearances between 2014 and 2021.

Concerned about their security and socio-economic stability, European states – and especially the littoral states – have deployed restrictive and reactive security policies, to the detriment of immigrants and refugees. But the management of this crisis raises criticism about the relevance of these policies and their compatibility with international and European law. (10)

Faced with the security/rights dialectic, can the concept of solidarity provide a better response to this dilemma? The concept of solidarity, which defines the work of the United Nations, brings nations and peoples together to promote peace and security, human rights, and development.

The closure of maritime borders forces immigrants and criminal organizations, such as human smugglers, to take maritime routes at considerable risk to their lives. The refusal of rescue and intervention by non-governmental organizations, coupled with administrative and judicial restrictions, has been responsible for the high number of shipwrecks and deaths. On the other hand, the refusal to guarantee disembarkation at ports has resulted in human rights violations, such as arbitrary detention, torture, human trafficking, and exploitation that migrants and refugees suffer upon their return to the southern shore. Moreover, the Libyan authorities, faced with a lack of capacity to coordinate wilderness operations, have been forced to decide who to rescue and who to leave at sea. This is a humanitarian disaster of great magnitude. (11)

Europe’s southern and eastern neighbors are experiencing unprecedented levels of instability, conflict, and economic collapse, and are also increasingly experiencing the effects of climate change.

Since the creation of the Schengen area, the Union has multiplied restrictive migration policies. The security obsession with border control has led to an increase in the number of surveillance, sorting, and detention systems for migrants at the Union’s external borders. To strengthen its fortress and protect itself from the flow of “undesirable” migrants, Europe is even seeking to go beyond the limits of its territory by extending its moat to the countries of origin and transit of migrants and refugees.

This growing desire for remote control is not new and has been on the European agenda since the early 2000s, and became a central concern in 2003 under the impetus of the United Kingdom – following the Australian model – in preparation for the Thessaloniki European Summit. It was in November 2004, through the Hague program, (12) that the involvement of third countries in the management of migration flows became a priority. This desire was initially based on common sense ‘’the need to protect refugees as close as possible to their region of origin, where the majority of them have interrupted their exile“. (13) It is, therefore, to fight “against illegal immigration and human trafficking […] that increased cooperation with third countries” (14) that this practice was put in place in 2004.

The external dimension has effectively become the keystone of European migration policy. (15) This process of externalizing the Union’s borders makes it possible to stem the flow of migrants as far upstream as possible while facilitating the expulsion and readmission of illegal immigrants. Taking advantage of an inequal balance of power, the European Union delegates the control of its borders to third countries and subcontracts its own responsibilities in terms of international protection, in exchange for a set of aid (financial, development, commercial, etc.). (16)

Given the negative consequences of this outsourcing policy on both human rights and development objectives, the European Union and the Member States are called upon to assume their responsibilities for international protection and to establish a balanced relationship with third countries.

Outsourcing has become one of the main pillars of European migration policy as stated by Riccardo Passarella: (17) 

[‘’The outsourcing referred to here can take place either directly or indirectly, and can involve the transfer of indirectly, and may involve the transfer of activities (contracted or due to the absence of a State) to a third country or a non-State, for example, a private company, which operates on the territory of the delegating State or on the territory of another State or of several States, or a group exercising control over all or part of the territory of a State. It turns out that instead of talking about the externalization of asylum, we should sometimes speak of the outward projection of migration policies.’’]

“L’externalisation dont il est question ici peut avoir lieu de façon directe ou indirecte, et elle peut viser le transfert d’activités (contracté ou dû à l’absence d’un État) auprès d’un Pays tiers ou d’un acteur non-étatique, par exemple une compagnie privée, qui opère sur le territoire même de l’État faisant délégation ou sur celui d’un autre ou de plusieurs Etats, ou alors un groupe exerçant un contrôle sur toute ou partie du territoire d’un État. Il s’avère qu’au lieu de parler d’externalisation de l’asile, il faudrait parfois parler de la projection vers l’extérieur des politiques migratoires.’’

To this end, the European Union does not hesitate to sign agreements with countries of transit and origin of refugees, to delegate the management of migration flows to them. The EU thus concluded an agreement with Turkey in 2016, (18) and supported the agreement between Italy and Libya – renewed for 3 years in February 2020.

Outsourcing is a term that originates from the economic field and means “to push an activity outside one’s establishment, to entrust it to a subcontractor for a fee“. (19) Outsourcing is measured through two mechanisms: “the return of irregular migrants and the blocking of migrants in third countries.” (20) The European Union and the member states are multiplying these strategies of delegation and subcontracting, involving both non-state actors and member states. Thus, private actors are used as gatekeepers to implement these restrictive policies, such as airlines, which are considered responsible if their service allows asylum. (21)

However, the externalization goes against Article 8 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers which proclaims, as does the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the right to emigrate, in the following terms: (22)

Migrant workers and members of their families shall be free to leave any State, including their State of origin. They have the right at any time to return to and remain in their State of origin”.

In the sense of checking migration, the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders, known as Frontex, (23) was created. This agency is the operational and technical arm of the outsourcing of border controls. Equipped with a “quasi-military arsenal’’, (24) successive legislative developments that give it increasing discretionary power, more and more prerogatives, economic, human, and material resources, illustrate the security management of European immigration policies. 

Frontex started with a budget of EUR 6 mln in 2005, receiving then EUR 19 mln in 2006 and EUR 118 mln in 2011. The budget decreased in 2012 to a level of EUR 85 mln, but steadily grew to EUR 142 mln in 2015; EUR 254 mln in 2016; EUR 302 mln in 2017; EUR 320 mln in 2018; EUR 333 mln in 2019; EUR 364 mln in 2020; EUR 535 mln in 2021 and finally EUR 754 in 2022.

It has “the capacity to negotiate its own operational agreements with the authorities of third countries“. It has in particular concluded partnerships with the police forces of Ukraine, Georgia, Albania, Turkey, Libya, and Mauritania in order to facilitate the joint management of migratory flows. (25)

On November 13, 2019, new legislation to strengthen Frontex’s prerogatives and human resources was again adopted. This strengthens the agency’s powers of cooperation with third countries, which can now conclude new agreements that go beyond the current limitation to countries in the EU’s neighborhood. In addition, a new permanent corps of up to 10,000 officers by 2027 will be established to assist member states in border control and return. To this end, the European Commission proposes to triple the agency’s budget in the next multiannual financial framework 2021-2027. 

Claire Rodier smacks Frontex in the following terms: (26)

‘’blocking migration routes to protect Europe and save lives is the mission of the European agency for the management of operational cooperation at the external borders, otherwise known as Frontex, along with the expulsion of undesirables by “grouped flights. since its creation in 2005, it has become the emblem of this “firm and generous” policy, which it applies by placing locks at the main maritime and land access points to the European Union and by moving the borders closer to the departure areas of would-be travelers.’’

Terrorism, radicalization, and organized crime

Terrorism remains a major challenge for the Euro-Mediterranean region. Its threat continues to evolve considerably, with the rise, decline, and transformation of the so-called Islamic State, online radicalization, the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters, and the current danger that their resettlement poses to third countries – as well as their return to the countries of origin – and the challenges posed by radicalized individuals who have never left their homes.

Statistics show a dramatic increase in terrorist activity in Africa, particularly in the Sahel, but also reaching as far as Mozambique. In a period of 12 months ending September 30, 2018, the rate of Islamic terrorist activity in the Sahel tripled, reaching 377 acts and 895 deaths; across the continent, 2,919 attacks were recorded. (27) As of March 2018, it is estimated that more than 9,000 terrorists were active in the Sahel, most of whom were in Libya and the Algerian Sahara. (28)

For the Global Terrorism Index: (29)

‘’There is a growing body of evidence which indicates that people in Western Europe with a criminal background may be especially susceptible to alignment with extremist beliefs, radicalisation, and possible recruitment by terrorist groups. Most of the studies conducted in Western Europe find that more than 40 per cent of foreign fighters and those arrested for terrorist activity have some form of criminal background. This pattern of recruitment is of particular concern for countries in Western Europe, with the number of returning foreign fighters expected to grow in the years ahead as ISIL continues to crumble in Iraq and Syria.’’

Following a series of attacks in 2015, the European Union has adopted various measures to stop terrorism. While the primary responsibility for fighting crime and safeguarding security lies with the Member States, terrorist attacks in recent years have shown that security is also a shared responsibility, which they must address together. The EU contributes to the protection of its citizens by serving as the main forum for cooperation and coordination between the Member States.

In 2015, EU leaders issued a joint statement to guide the work of the EU and its member states. (30) They called for specific actions to be taken, primarily in three areas:

  • Ensuring the security of citizens;
  • Preventing radicalization and protecting values; and
  • Cooperating with partners at the international level.

In November 2020, following the terrorist attacks in France, Germany, and Austria, EU interior ministers agreed to further strengthen their joint efforts to fight terrorism, without compromising common EU values such as democracy, justice, and freedom of expression. (31)

Radicalization is not a new phenomenon, but the threat has increased in recent years. Online communication technologies have facilitated cross-border communication by terrorists and amplified terrorist propaganda and the spread of extremism. In March 2021, the European Council adopted a regulation on combating the dissemination of terrorist content online. 

Although the fight against terrorism is primarily the responsibility of member states, the EU has developed several tools to help prevent radicalization.

Competent authorities in member states are empowered to issue injunctions forcing hosting service providers to remove or block access to terrorist content in all member states. Internet platforms then have one hour to remove the content or block access to it. The rules apply to all providers offering services in the EU, regardless of whether their principal place of business is located in one of the member states.

Providers of hosting services exposed to terrorist content must take specific measures to combat the misuse of their platforms and protect them from the dissemination of terrorist content. The decision as to which measures to take remains with the hosting service provider.

The new regulation targets content such as text, images, sound recordings, or videos, including live transmissions, that:

  • Incite or contribute to the commission of acts of terrorism;
  • Provide instructions on how to commit such acts; and
  • Solicit participation in terrorist groups.

Measures to combat terrorism and radicalization are devised to respect, promote, and ensure the protection of human rights. In order to support regional dynamics around the prevention and fight against radicalization, violent extremism, and terrorism, the Council of Europe organized, on June 22 and 23, 2022 in Tunis and online, a regional conference on the theme “The fight against terrorism and violent extremism: For a coordinated approach to human rights”. It brought together representatives and experts from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia.

This Conference was organized in the framework of the joint programs of the European Union and the Council of Europe, “Regional Support for the Consolidation of Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Democracy in the Southern Mediterranean” (South IV Program), and the “Project to Support Independent Bodies in Tunisia” (PAII-T), in partnership with the National Commission for Combating Terrorism in Tunisia (CNLCT), the High Authority for Audio-visual Communication in Tunisia (HAICA) and the NGO “No Peace without justice”.

Policies that are conform to human rights standards preserve the values that terrorist acts try to destroy. More importantly, they weaken support for radicalism among potential supporters and strengthen public confidence in the rule of law. As the United Nations Human Rights Council stated in its resolution 31/30, (32) “the objectives of combating terrorism and protecting and promoting human rights are not contradictory but complementary and mutually reinforcing.’’ It is in this context that the two-day conference in Tunisia took place, with the objective of promoting an approach centered on human rights, particularly in terms of training professionals working on counter-terrorism in the region.

Defiant radical Islam

Religious fundamentalism is not a new concept, far from it, and concerns most of the world’s major religions in one way or another. But among these fundamentalisms, Islamism occupies a special place in terms of the means it uses to establish itself in Muslim communities, particularly in Europe. (33)

In less than sixty years, Islam has become a reality in Europe, initiated by decolonization, then by the needs of the post-war industry, and finally by the economic boom of Southern Europe from the 1970s onwards. In recent times, European public opinion has become aware of terrible realities, due to the radicalization of some Muslims living in Europe. (34)

The last decades have seen a mutation of the strategy and discourse of radical Islam as well as its militants. These mutations are the result of the large and now lasting presence of Muslim populations in the Western world. (35) Faced with the unrealism of an original project of total Islamization, its militants have evolved in a double direction: the search for maximum hold on Western Muslim communities and the promotion of their vision and their claims to institutions and major political, economic, cultural, and social actors in the host countries. (36)

The changes, particularly in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, were linked to the great change in Muslim immigration, which came mainly from North Africa (37) and, in Germany, from Turkey. Thus, the “travailleurs immigrés” (according to the French expression) and ‘’Gastarbeiter’’ (for Germany) called by the needs of industry in the post-war period, and until the mid-1970s, began to become immigration of settlement, especially from the 1980s. The horizon for them became not the country of origin, but the country of reception. 

Islam, for these men who came alone, but also for the women and children who joined them, and then for their descendants, was initially about the reproduction of tradition. But later, because of racism, exclusion, precariousness, and other social difficulties experienced, Islam became an identity and a form of salvation and shelter from the outside harsh world tainted by racism.  Finally, Italy and Spain, more than other Mediterranean countries, became lands of immigration later on, especially from the 1990s, with a strong Muslim presence.

France to get hold of Islam has tried over the decades: assimilation, insertion, and now integration but to no avail. In this regard, Vincent Geisser argues: (38)

[‘’Promoting a “French Islam”: this formula is taken up today by many opinion leaders and Islamic entrepreneurs who present it as innovative, supposedly breaking with decades of public management of the Muslim fact. However, as the historian Henry Laurens reminds us, it was already in relatively common use during the Third Republic, appearing as “a political watchword, an institutional reality and a subject of debate where one tries to reconcile a French universality and a Muslim specificity within an imperial framework. French Islam is therefore not an invention of the beginning of the 21st century, despite what some public actors claim.  The question of reconciling civil religion and civic religion was already on the public agenda at the beginning of the last century, conveyed by certain representatives of the State, indigeneophilic elites, Islamophilic scholars, and also by Muslim dignitaries who claimed their attachment to the French nation, following the example of the representatives of Franco-Judaism, putting forward simultaneously their loyalty to the Jewish religion and to the Republic. But it is true that this Franco-Muslim patriotism developed in a particular historical context, that of colonial France, which was a contradictory injunction in which Muslims had to accept their status as “French subjects” without being recognized as full-fledged citizens, which the historian Patrick Weil describes as “distorted French nationality. In some respects, this Franco-Muslim patriotism was an imposed issue, leaving Muslim representatives no choice but to express their loyalty to “benefactor France”, at the risk – in case of insubordination or rebellion – of being repressed. For this reason, Franco-Muslim patriotism remained for a long time tainted by the trauma of the Muslim policy of the colonial state, which demanded the total allegiance of Muslim subjects, while relegating them to a particularist status, justifying their discriminatory and unequal treatment. From this point on, it is understandable that not only were cases of naturalization of Muslims in the French Empire always marginal in numerical terms, but they also appeared in the eyes of reformist Muslim elites and activists of national liberation movements as an expression of betrayal, or worse, as a form of apostasy (irtitād).’’]

‘’Promouvoir un « islam français » : cette formule est reprise aujourd’hui en chœur par de nombreux leaders d’opinion et entrepreneurs islamiques qui la présentent comme novatrice, supposée être en rupture avec des décennies de gestion publique du fait musulman. Pourtant, comme le rappelle l’historien Henry Laurens, elle était déjà d’un usage relativement courant sous la Troisième République, apparaissant comme « un mot d’ordre politique, une réalité institutionnelle et un sujet de débat où l’on essaye de concilier une universalité française et une spécificité musulmane dans un cadre impérial ». L’islam français n’est donc pas une invention de ce début de XXIe siècle, en dépit de ce que prétendent certains acteurs publics.  La question de la conciliation entre religion civile et religion civique figure déjà sur l’agenda public au début du siècle dernier, véhiculée par certains représentants de l’État, des élites indigénophiles, des savants islamophiles et aussi par des dignitaires musulmans qui revendiquaient leur attachement à la nation française, à l’instar des représentants du franco-judaïsme, mettant en avant simultanément leur fidélité à la religion juive et à la République. Mais il est vrai que ce patriotisme franco-musulman se développait dans un contexte historique particulier, celui de la France coloniale, faisant alors figure d’injonction contradictoire où les musulmans devaient accepter leur statut de « sujets français », sans pour autant être reconnus comme des citoyens à part entière, ce que l’historien Patrick Weil qualifie de « nationalité française dénaturée ». À certains égards, ce patriotisme franco-musulman relevait d’une problématique imposée, ne laissant d’autre choix aux représentants musulmans que d’exprimer leur loyauté à l’égard de la « France bienfaitrice », au risque – en cas d’insoumission ou de rébellion- d’être réprimés. Pour cette raison, le patriotisme franco-musulman est resté longtemps entaché du traumatisme de la politique musulmane de l’État colonial, exigeant l’allégeance totale des sujets musulmans, tout en les reléguant à un statut particulariste, justifiant leur traitement discriminatoire et inégalitaire. Dès lors, on peut comprendre que non seulement les cas de naturalisation des musulmans de l’Empire français furent toujours marginaux sur le plan numérique, mais qu’ils apparaissaient aussi aux yeux des élites musulmanes réformistes et des militants des mouvements de libération nationale comme l’expression d’une trahison, ou pire, comme une forme d’apostasie (irtitād).’’

It is true that those that are the most committed to the Islamist violence are generally uneducated in religious matters, and that Islam has generally been for them an outcome, rather than a starting point. They often owe little to a previous membership in a religious community, and to a family environment rooted in the practice of Islam, of which they know only the rudiments. The al-Qaeda terrorists, or those who acted in Europe: in London (July 2005), in Madrid (March 2004), etc., almost all illustrate this point. Their trajectory has brought them into contact with preachers, and activists, directly or via the Internet, but they are not the expression of constituted communities, they are rather the opposite. (39)

For Richard Youngs and Michael Emerson: (40)

‘’Issues relating to political Islam continue to present challenges to European foreign policies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). As EU policy has sought to come to terms with such challenges during the last decade or so political Islam itself has evolved. Experts point to the growing complexity and variety of trends within political Islam. Some Islamist organisations have strengthened their commitment to democratic norms and engaged fully in peaceable, mainstream national politics. Others remain wedded to violent means. And still others have drifted towards a more quietist form of Islam, disengaged from political activity. Political Islam in the MENA region presents no uniform trend to European policymakers. 

Analytical debate has grown around the concept of ‘radicalisation’. This in turn has spawned research on the factors driving ‘de-radicalisation’, and conversely, ‘re-radicalisation’. Much of the complexity derives from the widely held view that all three of these phenomena are occurring at the same time. Even the terms themselves are contested. It has often been pointed out that the moderate–radical dichotomy fails fully to capture the nuances of trends within political Islam. Some analysts also complain that talk of ‘radicalism’ is ideologically loaded. At the level of terminology, we understand radicalisation to be associated with extremism, but views differ over the centrality of its religious–fundamentalist versus political content, and over whether the willingness to resort to violence is implied or not. Such differences are reflected in the views held by the Islamists themselves, as well as in the perceptions of outsiders.’’

In the Euro-Mediterranean region, Islam is seen as a concept of duality. It is the place of the forbidden, of the negation of bodies, and of the haunting of desire. Invisible women, repressed sexuality, hunted lovers, and suppressed homosexuals are the essence of these cultures. A contrary discourse, aiming at the rehabilitation of Islam with the Western public and its inscription in a globalized hedonism, exalts the sensuality of the Muslim cultures, their celebration of enjoyment, and their erotology which disturbed for a long time the senses of prudish Europe, the vapors of the hammam, the couples of mythical lovers and the enjoyment and sacrilege poets, amateurs of wine and ephebes. Sometimes these essentialist clichés are combined to create a before-and-after fantasy, and one weeps over the lost delights of the Arabian Nights, covered by the leaden blanket of modern Islamism and narrow-minded literalism. How to untangle the skein of representations, to make them part of what comes from a theological discourse and what emanates from the so diverse cultures which claimed and still define themselves by Islam, is the essential question at hand today?

In European countries, therefore, three main options are being debated: 

  • To fight radical Islamism by dissociating it completely from moderate Islam, and without worrying much about the latter; 
  • To rely on moderate Islam, strengthen it and mobilize it in this fight; or

To fight Islam, in general. 

  • In Muslim countries, the third option is practically excluded. And in both cases, there are all sorts of nuances or intermediate proposals, complicated by geopolitical, international, or global considerations.  

Climate change

At the heart of the issues at stake in the Mediterranean region, the climate problem must be understood, on the one hand, in the light of local climate changes, and on the other hand through the analysis of interactions between these and the socio-economic development processes of the riparian countries. (41)

Climate change can increase the fragility of the Mediterranean basin. The acidification of the sea, for example, will have an impact on biodiversity, but also on fishing and even tourism (through the development of jellyfish, the great winners of this loss of biodiversity). The multiplication of droughts and more generally desertification also pose a risk to food supply. The rise in sea level may have a significant economic cost, which is still difficult to quantify with certainty. 

Given the complexity of the climate situation, several new issues related to climate change must be taken into consideration, such as global warming, increased droughts, sea level rise, and acidification. These issues are also associated with other environmental changes such as pollution and urban sprawl.

The Mediterranean is one of the “hot spots” of our planet and the impacts of climate change are very pronounced, particularly on its southern and eastern shores. Far from being exclusive to the Mediterranean basin, this phenomenon is becoming a reality for all societies with consequences that are already very worrying and which are announced as potentially dramatic or even irreversible. To make matters worse, emerging and developing countries are the most vulnerable, even though their historical contribution to this problem is limited. (42) 

The climate of the Mediterranean basin is rather dry and characterized by long periods of drought, but also by rainfall that is sometimes intense during the winter and autumn periods. The southern and eastern shores are subject to higher temperatures and more intense periods of drought; 80% of their annual precipitation comes from winter rains, compared to 30% for the north shore.

Meteorological forecasts for the next few decades suggest global warming and an increase in temperature from 1.4 to 2.5 degrees and a decrease in precipitation of 5 to 15% by 2050. The dry years and water stress that will be coupled with the difficulty of assessing the spatial distribution of these events and the rise in sea level pose threats to human, regional, and international security.  (43)

Some sectors of the economy, such as agriculture and tourism, are likely to face conflicts of use. With the difficulty of agriculture, the question of food dependence will be raised with great acuteness. Displacements of the population in relation to resources are to be expected, as well as tensions over the sharing of water resources. The implications of climate change are also legion for defense: military equipment and soldiers are forced to adapt to constantly changing theaters of operation. (44)

Also in this region, the trend is 0.03°C per year, a trend that is also higher than the global trends. Without additional mitigation actions, the temperature will increase by 2.2°C (compared to the pre-industrial period) in the Mediterranean region by 2040, and even 3.8°C in some areas by 2100. The summer periods will potentially be more affected by this increase than the winter periods. Episodes of high temperatures and heat waves (periods of excessive heat) will probably be more frequent and/or more intense. (45) Human activities are making urban areas significantly warmer than surrounding rural areas, especially at night. This phenomenon is called the “urban heat island.’’ It exacerbates the increase in frequency, intensity, and duration of heat waves.

Regional forecasts of sea level change are less accurate than global forecasts, due to the limitations of global models and because of interactions between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Concerning the Mediterranean coasts, the regional changes in terms of river runoff that lead to changes in salinity, as well as soil movements in the eastern region of the Mediterranean basin are also to be taken into account. In addition to the impact of sea level rise on a global scale, the water circulation paths in the Mediterranean Sea may also be modified and lead to changes in sea level on a regional scale, (46) with sea surface level differences of up to 10 cm. Significant coastal flooding is expected by 2100 in southern Italy, (47) as well as significant alterations of the coastline in other regions such as the Balearic Islands.

The precipitation levels observed in the Mediterranean are characterized by a strong geographical and temporal heterogeneity, but climate models clearly indicate a trend towards a reduction in precipitation in the coming decades. (48) The decrease in precipitation coupled with increasing warming are contributing to strong trends towards a drying climate. The frequency and intensity of droughts have already increased significantly in the Mediterranean since 1950. (49) Between 2008 and 2011, for example, the Middle East drought due to the prolonged absence of rainfall, a situation exacerbated by the high evapotranspiration related to global warming (the average temperature increased by 1°C between 1931 and 2008) and by the increase in demand for water due to strong population growth.

An increase of 2°C in global atmospheric temperature is expected to result in a decrease of about 10-15% in summer precipitation in southern France, north-western Spain, and the Balkans, as well as a 30% in Turkey. (50) A temperature increase of 2 to 4°C in southern Europe in 2080 would cause a significant and widespread decrease in precipitation by up to 30%, as well as the disappearance of frost periods in the Balkans. A one-degree temperature increase would lead to a decrease of about 4% in precipitation in most of the region, especially in the south. (51) The duration of droughts could also increase by 7% if the global temperature increases by 1.5°C. Finally, heavy rainfall events could increase by 10-20% in all seasons except summer. (52)

The transition to a low-carbon economy is a key issue for the entire region. By encouraging dialogue between the countries of the Mediterranean and bringing out exemplary projects, the Union for the Mediterranean will, undoubtedly, contribute to the global process of combating climate change. 

It is not unrealistic to think that, due to its complexity and fragility, the Mediterranean is a good laboratory for experimenting with solutions to the global climate problem.

Conflicts and discrepancies

Many battles, land and naval, have marked the history of the ancient Mediterranean. The mythical Trojan War (which is attested by archaeological excavations) opposed the inhabitants of this city located in Asia Minor (now Turkey) to the allied Greek troops who came to plunder and, especially, to recover Helen, wife of Menelaus, kidnapped by Paris.

It is Herodotus, in his Investigations, who delivers the first historical testimony strictly speaking. He relates the Median wars (“Medes” means “Persians”), which took place between 490 and 479 BC, first in Ionia (Asia Minor) and then in continental Greece, the Persians having crossed the Dardanelles strait and sailed on the Aegean Sea. After the victory of the Greeks, the political and cultural influence of Athens was at its peak. (53)

Then it is the Peloponnesian war (of which we know the details thanks to Thucydides) which is going to tear the Greek world apart, opposing the Athenians and their allies to the Spartans with their allies for decades (431-404 BC). The conflict ends with the victory of Sparta and the collapse of the Athenian empire.

In the IVth century, a first political unification of a part of the Mediterranean world will be the fact of the emperor of Macedonia Philip II, and especially of his son Alexander who succeeds him. Whereas with the death of Philip II in 336, a great part of Greece is conquered, the empire of Alexander extends gradually to Egypt, Syria, Thrace, Asia Minor and Persia (current Turkey), and all the territories in the East until India. However, this empire will not last since at the death of Alexander in 323 it will be divided between his generals.

It is with the Roman conquests that the political integration of the whole Mediterranean basin will finally take place. The Romans expanded beyond the borders of Italy at the beginning of the IInd century BC, with the conquest of Spain. At the death of Emperor Claudius, in 54 AD, the Imperium Romanum extended over the entire Mediterranean basin.

The wars that most marked the spirit of the Romans are perhaps the Punic Wars that opposed them to the Carthaginians, between 246 and 146 BC. Despite the march of Hannibal and his elephants through the Straits of Gibraltar and the Alps, the Romans eventually emerged victorious.

In addition to naval battles, the Mediterranean maritime area was also the scene, throughout antiquity, of acts of piracy that made navigation risky. Pirates sought to seize the cargoes of ships and travelers, to sell them into slavery, or demand ransoms. Greek novels and rhetorical exercises often take as their theme the disappearances and reunions associated with piracy.

Dealing with the eastern Mediterranean conflicts, IEMed writes in a policy brief: (54)

‘’The “Eastern Mediterranean” is defined differently by geographers, policy-makers and experts. Within the field of regional policy analysis, it typically includes Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Syria. Presently, the region is characterised more by conflict than by cohesion. This is due largely, but not only, to the ongoing Syrian war, which has drawn multiple countries into active military engagement. While there are numerous bilateral diplomatic relations and trade agreements within the region, there are also active and passive conflicts, non-existent relations (such as between Israel and Lebanon), as well as tenuous and fragile relations (including Turkey’s diplomatic status with Israel and Greece).

Therefore, the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean are less strongly united than they are divided. Sometimes this division is the result of direct conflict, and other times it is caused by differing priorities, extra-regional alliances, and ties to international organisations. Greece and Turkey, for example, are members of the North American Treaty Organization (NATO), and bound to the commitments of that membership; Greece and Cyprus are members of the European Union (EU) and tied to its larger political and economic structures. Ties to international organisations, as well as great power alliances, can leave Eastern Mediterranean countries with divergent priorities. In addition, the major conflicts of the region are primarily addressed not by sub-regional actors but rather by superpowers and international organisations.

The Syrian war is a major example of regional limitations and complexities. The interests of Eastern Mediterranean countries are affected by what happens in Syria but there is no Eastern Mediterranean regional group or country that has played a major role in working to resolve the war. When regional countries do engage in conflict resolution efforts, it is through larger alliances with major powers. A primary example of this is Turkey, a country that is militarily engaged in Syria but participates in conflict resolution as part of the Russia-Iran- Turkey-led Astana Process, a series of political talks held outside of the official Geneva process framework established by the UN Security Council (UNSC). The United States (US) and Russia play the major roles in international conflict resolution efforts on Syria, both directly, multilaterally, and by promoting or blocking action at the UNSC. The two powers have divergent views on the future of post-conflict Syria and on the goals of military action; these differences are mirrored by their allies in the Eastern Mediterranean.’’

Were Greece and Turkey on the verge of an armed confrontation in the eastern Mediterranean in 2020? The two countries have been a source of concern for the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) since a sudden rise in tensions on August 10, 2020.

On that date, Turkey sent the seismic vessel Oruç Reis, escorted by warships, to probe the seabed in an area it disputes with Greece, in search of hydrocarbons. Although the ship returned to the Turkish coast on Sunday, September 13, 2020, Ankara assured that it would not give up its rights in this area of the eastern Mediterranean.

In response, Athens launched naval maneuvers, to which Turkish military exercises responded, accompanied by an escalation of threats between Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, but also France, and even the European Union. This arm-wrestling was, however, only the latest act in a conflict that has been brewing for decades between Greece and Turkey over the sharing of waters in the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean.

To understand the Greek-Turkish tensions, one must have in mind some notions of maritime law. Firstly, that of the “territorial sea”. Since 1982, the width of territorial waters can reach 12 miles from the coast (about 22.2 km) and the state has the same rights there as on its land territory. In the case of Turkey and Greece, the limit has been set at 6 miles since 1936. If Greece decides to extend its territorial sea to 12 miles, as the law allows, the Turks would no longer be able to cross the Aegean Sea without passing through Greek waters, since there are so many islands. This would be “a reason for war”, Turkey warned in September 2020.

The second important concept is the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), established by the 1982 Montego Bay Convention. With a maximum width of 200 miles (about 370 km), the EEZ gives the coastal state an exclusive right to explore, exploit and manage the resources of the zone. In other words, everything discovered in a country’s EEZ belongs to it. If a State demonstrates that its land territory extends to the ocean floor beyond the 200-mile EEZ, it can also request to extend what is called its “continental shelf” to 350 miles (650 km) and thus exploit the soil and subsoil.

After the Second World War, when Western opinion discovered the horror of the camps and the genocide, the upheaval of the international balance of power led to the partition of Palestine. On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 181, which provided for a Jewish state on 56% of the land of Palestine and an Arab state on the remaining 44%. By May 14, 1948, the day of Israel’s “declaration of independence,” Jewish forces had already expelled nearly 400,000 Palestinians from the territory planned for the Jewish state and occupied the majority of its Arab towns. Some 415 Palestinian villages will be destroyed or become Israeli villages. For the Palestinians, this is the Nakba, the “catastrophe”.

At the end of the 1967 war, Israel occupied all of Palestine. Created in 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organization -PLO-  gained its independence from Arab tutelage by becoming the sole representative of the Palestinian people. Mr. Yasser Arafat became its president in 1969 until his death in 2004 and the resistance gradually began to demand an independent Palestinian state, alongside Israel. Thus, the PLO became unavoidable.

With the first Intifada (1987-1993), the Palestinian resistance refocused on the occupied territory. The first Arab-Israeli negotiations (begun in 1991 in Madrid) and Israeli-Palestinian negotiations led to reciprocal, but asymmetrical, recognition between the State of Israel and the PLO. The failure of the Camp David negotiations (July 2000), as well as the doubling of the number of settlers during the negotiations, led to the Second Intifada (2000). This was followed by several Israeli offensives, the construction of an annexation wall, the electoral victory of Hamas in the 2006 legislative elections, and the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip during the winter of 2008-2009, a territory that has remained under siege ever since.

Israeli policy towards the Palestinians has hardened considerably since the 2000s, with a systematic response to Palestinian violence through armed intervention. In the Gaza Strip, Israel decided to withdraw the 8,000 settlers and soldiers of the Israeli army in 2005, after 38 years of occupation, but attacks were carried out, officially targeting Hamas fighters (Operations Cast Lead, Protective Edge…). The Israeli government also justifies the creation of a wall on its border, invoking its security against Palestinian attacks, a wall declared illegal by the International Court of Justice.

Moreover, since 1948, the Arab-Israeli wars have contributed to the exodus of several million Palestinian refugees, whose living conditions vary according to the place they are received (Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, South America, Northern Europe, etc.). The exiles have been recognized as having a “right to return” by the United Nations General Assembly and are fighting for its application.

Another obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace is the status of Jerusalem. Although it was supposed to be placed under international status, the city of Jerusalem is divided into a western part, annexed by Israel, and an eastern part (including the Old City), annexed by Jordan in 1948. During the Six Day War, Israel conquered East Jerusalem and declared Jerusalem “reunited”, even though international law condemns this annexation.

For Admiral Jean Casabianca, the Mediterranean Sea in spite of factors of convergence is home to multiple disruptive factors: (55)

“In spite of factors that tend to find the convergence criteria for a collective future, such as culture, the ecology of the sea or insular identity, the Mediterranean brings together too many contrasts and complexities to be thought of as a coherent whole. Its eastern side concentrates energy, security and inter-religious challenges. Its southern area remains a mosaic of uncertainties. Its western part, relatively unaffected so far, could become the main corridor for African migration towards Europe.

Multiple disruptive factors will persist in the medium term across what might constitute the strategic “doldrums” in Europe’s immediate southern belt. The first half of the 21st century has confirmed that security balances in the Mediterranean region are the result of confrontations between adjacent geostrategic areas, but also of rivalries between major competitors who may alternately show that they are powerful or harmful and, more rarely, display evidence of their goodwill. Thanks to its complex and tragic history, Europe is in the better position to understand this highly uncertain Mediterranean area, to take a more active part in its strong interactions and, above all, to understand the essential constituent and animating spirit of its history.”

Duality North-South, discrepancies, and inequalities

In the current international context, “because of its duality”, the Mediterranean, both north, and south, becomes a theater that illustrates the complexity of the new world order and the theater of its contradictions, tensions, and imbalances. Now the Mediterranean – the sea as well as the countries that surround it – constitutes a series of decisive issues for the future of Europe: demographic, economic, ecological, socio-cultural, political, and military. For if it is true that the Mediterranean is a link between the riparian countries and a place of passage and intense exchanges, it is no less true that it was and is also, as Mr. Arkoun underlines it: (56)

[“the space of irremediable cleavages, of tenacious identities, of hereditary refusals, of murderous wars, of destructive passions. “]

‘’l’espace des clivages irrémédiables, des identités tenaces, des refus héréditaires, des guerres meurtrières, des passions destructrices’’

To grasp this, think of the history of the big mosque of Algiers which became a cathedral, then became a mosque again and the cathedral of Cordoba raised in the heart of the prestigious mosque of the Omeyyads and, closer to us, to the destiny of Palestine, transformed into a Jewish state, and to so many other recent examples (Lebanon, Yugoslavia, Cyprus) of (57)

[“a relentless rivalry for the appropriation of a symbolic wealth.”] 

This double characteristic of the Mediterranean must always be kept in mind: line of contact and zone of friction. This is perhaps what explains, as Jordi Pujol points out, that Europe  (58)

“has not yet established such an intimate link with the Mediterranean.” 

as it has with Central and Eastern Europe.

For Blanco-Moreno-Dodson the potential of integration of the Mediterranean countries is definitely a tremendous undertaking: (59)

“Today, the potential of Mediterranean integration remains largely untapped. It needs to be invigorated. Two recent reports, “Trading Together: Reviving Middle East and North Africa Regional Integration in the Post-Covid Era” (World Bank) and “Enhancing Mediterranean Integration” (Center for Mediterranean Integration) explore key policy options for achieving a balance between domestic reforms and those intended to increase and diversify regional trade flows, with the ultimate objective to promote inclusive growth and improve well-being across the region.

Why hasn’t the goal of “shared prosperity in the Mediterranean region” become a reality yet? Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in the Southern Mediterranean is, at best, still less than 40% of the EU-28 level. Not only that, but its trajectory has been, for all intents, flat since 1995.

There are still pronounced country-to-country differences in the numbers of people living in poverty and tremendous vulnerability for some population groups to fall under extreme poverty, especially when external shocks hit unexpectedly. There is also much more income disparity within the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries than within Europe, with the top 10% commanding more than 50% of total income. This situation needs to change.’’

Conclusion: Can the Mediterranean dream become reality?

The Mediterranean is always a hope guided by political utopias, contradictory economic interests, or the desire for exchange and openness. Each time, this hope is blurred by factors of adversity that prevent federative impulses and efforts to bring people together. Indeed, the Mediterranean space, in its plurality, diversity, and also in its complexity as a cultural area, seems to be an elusive space. 

The Mediterranean is a region in the making, subject to great uncertainties about its future, and which, very often, is not thought of as an entity, and a coherent whole. And yet, economic, political, and human relations and projects are developing every day. They would benefit from being conceived within a global framework, and a common future project. This future must be imagined and shared by all those who “make” the Mediterranean, hence, have versed interest in a Mediterranean prospective approach.

The countries of the Mediterranean basin have a significant number of complementarities to exploit. First of all, there is a (quantitative) complementarity of living forces, between an aging Europe, whose probable decline in the number of active people will affect potential growth, and a southern and eastern Mediterranean shore where young people entering the labor market will be numerous and more qualified during a generation. However, if the additional workforce of some countries will not automatically compensate for the shortcomings of others, both because of the compartmentalization of labor markets and restrictive migration policies, greater Euro-Mediterranean mobility could make it possible to make up for sectoral labor shortages (particularly in the personal services, construction, and hotel and restaurant sectors) and to strengthen the level and adaptation of workers’ qualifications. (60)

Foresight means identifying the major trends and the points of rupture and verifying whether they are a source of convergence or divergence. It also means acting in the present to build the future. In this Mediterranean future, several scenarios are possible (divergence, crisis, or convergence).

To make the Mediterranean dream become a more tangible reality, thought should be given to the following areas:

1- Develop common food security and rural development policy;

2- Establish a Mediterranean investment bank designed to promote the financing of SMEs, key actors in wealth and job creation;

3- Improve the business environment: A better investment climate is crucial to attracting foreign direct investment. Problems related to insecurity, lack of access to finance, inadequate competitive frameworks, and the informal economy are all levers that countries need to act on;

4- Strengthen human capital: in a broad sense, human capital represents “the knowledge and skills that enable an individual to create value”. We must improve the education and training of young people, their mobility, and their social commitment to give them the means for bold collective action;

5- Transfer of technology, know-how, and expertise;

6- Create a Mediterranean environmental fund aimed at strengthening the capacity of southern and eastern Mediterranean countries to adapt to climate change;

7- Strengthen environmental resilience: suffering from water shortages, droughts, food production deficits, and sea level rise, the Mediterranean is one of the most environmentally fragile regions. Yet it has excellent potential to reduce the energy sector’s dependence on carbon and potentially meet its own and its neighbors’ energy needs with green resources. To realize this potential, regional market integration and cooperation must be accelerated;

8- Encourage more cultural and educational exchanges;

9- Support the political transition of southern countries in the field of democracy, human rights, and good governance; and

10- Allow temporary migration for contracted services and projects co-financed by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM).

The Mediterranean enjoys exceptional natural conditions for the development of renewable energies. Solar radiation and wind speed are among the best in the world. Hydroelectric energy is widespread. It also has a vast potential for improving energy efficiency and the potential for energy savings is significant. By relying on green energies, it could drastically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions linked to energy production. Morocco and the UK are currently engaged in a mega project to produce electricity from solar farms for British homes.

The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) was created by 42 Euro-Mediterranean heads of state and government on July 13, 2008, in Paris. It is a multilateral partnership whose aim is to foster the potential for regional integration and cohesion of Euro-Mediterranean countries. The Union for the Mediterranean is inspired by the shared political will to intensify efforts to make the Mediterranean region an area of peace, stability, security, and prosperity. It is supported by a General Secretariat, based in Barcelona, Spain, which accompanies and implements the work of the Union for the Mediterranean.

The mission of UfM is to enhance regional cooperation, dialogue, and the implementation of projects and initiatives with tangible impact on citizens, with an emphasis on young people and women, in order to address the three strategic objectives of the region: stabilityhuman development, and integration

In this regard, it states: (61)

“There is no development without security and no security without development. It is crucial to strengthen the security-development nexus in order to create the appropriate environment conducive to socio-economic development and to address in a comprehensive and balanced manner the challenges of the region. Because of its geographical composition, institutional governance and working methodology, the UfM is the ideal organisation for taking into account the priorities of both the EU – as reflected in the reviewed ENP and the Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy – and the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries.”

And goes on to say:

“The impact of UfM activities on regional stability through their connection with the development dimension are an important parameter of the region’s overall well-being. By concentrating all efforts on two main pillars of action, fostering human development and promoting regional sustainable development, UfM projects and initiatives contribute to regional stability and regional integration, be it, for example, through the cross-sectorial flagship on job creation initiative Med4Jobs or as a result of the socio-economic impact of strategic infrastructure and innovative urban development projects through the Urban Projects Finance Initiative (UPFI).”

Will the dream of the Mediterranean people of vivre-ensemble, peace, cooperation, coexistence, and fair exchange ever become a reality in a globalized world? Only time will show…

You can follow Professor Mohamed Chtatou on Twitter: @Ayurinu


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  54.  IEMed. ‘’ Eastern Mediterranean Regional Dynamics: Conflicts and Opportunities for Conflict Resolution Support’’, June 27, 2018.
  55.  Casabianca, Admiral Jean. ‘’ Mediterranean Sea: a paradigm of contemporary conflicts”, Fondation Robert Schumann, June 6, 2020.
  56.  Arkoun, Mohammed. « Une autre histoire de la pensée en Méditerranée », L’Evénement méditerranéen, n° 2, 1988, p. 80.
  57. Ibid.
  58.  Pujol, Jordi. « Pour une politique méditerranéenne », Les nouvelles frontières de l’Europe. p.197.
  59.  Moreno-Dodson, Blanca. ‘’ Relancer l’intégration en Méditerranée : pourquoi la région MENA a tout à y gagner’’, World Bank Blog, March 23, 2021.
  60. Ibid.

Dr. Mohamed Chtatou

Dr. Mohamed Chtatou is a Professor of education science at the university in Rabat. He is currently a political analyst with Moroccan, Gulf, French, Italian and British media on politics and culture in the Middle East, Islam and Islamism as well as terrorism. He is, also, a specialist on political Islam in the MENA region with interest in the roots of terrorism and religious extremism.

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