Euromed: conflicts weigh on GDP, 5 trillion in losses in 2030

MedPro scenario, relations too euro-centric, EU not decisive

27 February, 13:22

Bomb in Aleppo (archive): the Mediterranean today is a conflict zone in Syria, the Middle East and the Sahara, according to Rym Ayadi, coordinator of the MedPro project Bomb in Aleppo (archive): the Mediterranean today is a conflict zone in Syria, the Middle East and the Sahara, according to Rym Ayadi, coordinator of the MedPro project

(ANSAmed) - BRUSSELS - The Euro-Mediterranean area is at risk of paying a high price for the lack of a 'real alliance' between countries on the two shores of the Mediterranean. If the situation will remain unvaried, the scenario in the next decades will be one of conflict and tension which could lead to up to 5,000 billion in GDP losses in the region in 2030, according to the research project MediterraneanProspects (MEdPro) funded by the European Commission.

Instead of making progress 'we are unfortunately moving backwards: today the Mediterranean is a conflict zone, in Syria, the Middle East and the Sahara with the potential failure of the democratic transition processes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya', said Rym Ayadi, coordinator of the MedPro project. ''These are factors of tension which should not be underestimated. The costs of a conflict scenario are high: we are talking about up to 5,000 billion in GDP losses in 2030 if there will not be a change of policies''.

The European Union will play a key role in this: ''We think it is a crucial partner but so far it has not been decisive in its policies and did as little as possible with its neighbours''. The EU needs first and foremost to coordinate its foreign policy, otherwise each country will continue to have bilateral relations with nations in the South without a common strategy. The approach towards neighbours is also too 'euro-centric' while it should be based on equality'', Ayadi noted. ''Our proposal is to reach a sustainable transition, a future in which all would be winners. The South should also get finely tuned to this approach as so far there is only a partnership within the Union for the Mediterranean but this too is perceived as a creature of the EU''.

According to the MedPro analysis, the North and South of the Mediterranean complement each other from a demographic standpoint with the boom recorded in the South and the population in the North getting older and is therefore launching ''an agenda of human development based on a strategy promoting education as well as the recognition of diplomas and qualifications through a Euro-Mediterranean agency'', explained the project's coordinator.

On the immigration front, the EU should completely change.

Ayadi said that ''EU policies are more based on security and border control: we need to go beyond that and consider immigration more as an opportunity than a threat''.

Other common fronts of intervention should concern climatic change, the water emergency and the exploitation of renewable energy. In order to have a common energy market ''we need the same local reforms and pilot projects which can be developed'', said Ayadi. ''If we want to go beyond 3-4%, a percentage which cannot absorb unemployment, especially among youths and women, we have to change a scenario of 'business as usual' in which nothing changes''. According to the researcher, ''we must move beyond as the region is characterized by human, cultural and economic ties''.

The leaders of this new partnership of the future between North and South in the Mediterranean appear not to be there.

''Right now there isn't a different perspective, it is at an inferior level'', concluded Ayadi. ''If the EU does not change its perception, centuries will pass. I don't see such a sign now''. (ANSAmed).

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