Med, Cnr, growth of north-south exchange, gap remains

Europe main partner, “now it must become political actor"

14 November, 18:56

    Opening  of new Renault factory in Oran, Algeria Opening of new Renault factory in Oran, Algeria

    (ANSAmed) - ROME - In the last decades the economic relations between the two flanks of the Mediterranean have intensified but Europe was not able to manage the existing chasm. This is the main point of the tenth "Report on the Mediterranean economies", curated by the Institute for the study of Mediterranean societies of the National research council of Naples (Issm-Cnr), published by Il Mulino and presented Friday in Rome. "The exchange between the European Union and the countries of North Africa and the Middle East has doubled, goinf from 50 billion dollars in 1995 to 227 in 2012" explained Issm-Cnr researcher Eugenia Ferragina. "Eu exports have increased at greater speed with regard to Turkey and Algeria, where growth developed respectively at 413 and 321%, Egypt and Morocco. Eu export is now concentrated in Turkey 42%, Algeria (12%), Israel (10%) and Morocco (10%). The positive signals also concern the growth of exchange between Italy and these states which has trebled in the space of eighteen years". However the region's south remains remarkably underdevelopend. "One-third of almost 500 million people who live in northern countries have access to two-thirds of the energy gdp - carries on Ferragina who curated the publication with Paolo Malanima of Catanzaro Magna Grecia University. " Migratory waves which have intesified from sub-Saharan Africa towards the Maghreb, which represents an intermediate stop on route for Europe, are symptoms of a chasm worsened by environmental ills and conflicts and exacerbated by droughts like in the emblematic case of Darfur".

    Europe is still the main partner for these countries. "From the Eu comes over 50% of total imports and approximately 60% of exports for countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean (Psem), countries that still fare very low among the Union's most relevant market-partners. On the whole, in 2012 countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean contributed less than 2% to the exchange total (import and export) between the Eu and the rest of the world". Therefore, this is an uncertain landscape made even more uncertain by the vulnerability of "Arab spring" countries. "Macro-economic and socio-political instability risk to deter investement and growth also in the years to come, unless significant economic reforms and growth policies are embraced" added the researcher. "Europe should present itself as a political actor and not only and economic one. As far as Italy is concerned, the challenge is to to manage complex phenomena such as migration, the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a wealth of asylum requests coming from the populations of countries at war" .

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