News > Research Workshop "Dealing with Security in the Euro-Mediterranean Area after Barcelona 10"
Research Workshop "Dealing with Security in the Euro-Mediterranean Area after Barcelona 10"
In the framework of its research programme 2006/2007, EuroMeSCo held a research workshop on "Dealing with Security in the Euro-Mediterranean Area after Barcelona 10", on 28-29 June at the Tivoli Hotel in Lisbon.

The aim of this seminar was to bring together some of the researchers involved in related EuroMeSCo projects, as well as a few external experts, to discuss the individual findings and facilitate cross-fertilisation.

The first debate on “The Impact of the ENP on Security Cooperation and Conflict Resolution: The Case of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” was introduced by Dr. Dorothée Schmid (Ifri, Paris) who argued that the EU in spite of the existence of the ENP and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) does not have a consistent policy vis-à-vis the conflict. Against the backdrop that the ENP seems to be highly imbalanced, due to its active approach towards Israel and its passivity towards the Palestinians, and as it was supposedly designed as a soft security approach, Schmid maintained that it must be regarded as a policy for peaceful times and thus as a rather useless tool with respect to the current situation in Palestine. Though some participants argued that the EU would need to realise that there currently is a strategic window of opportunity and that policies such as the ENP could be useful, there was broad consensus that the ENP hitherto at least has been rather fuzzy as regards conflict resolution.

The second session focused on “Fostering EU Strategies on Police Reform in Palestine” and was kicked off by Stuart Reigeluth (CitPax, Madrid) whereas the third debate, introduced by Volkan Aytar (TESEV, Istanbul) focused on the EU’s role with respect to police reform in Turkey. Both speakers gave an overview of measures the EU has undertaken and pointed to the different frameworks in which these measures have been implemented. Clearly, as Aytar remarked, EU influence was much more visible, wide-ranging and effective in Turkey due to the country’s membership perspective whereas the EU’s Palestinian Police Support (COPPS) mission has been highly constrained by the latest developments in the Gaza Strip. Yet, irrespective of the framework and political context in which both Turkey and Palestine undertake (or fail to implement) police sector reform, the speakers argued that the EU’s strategies lack explicit benchmarks to evaluate (successful) police reform and need to contribute to the build-up of societal demands of accountability of the entire security sector.

The fourth session, picking up on the discussion of the first session, was opened by Dr. Sharon Pardo (Ben Gurion University of the Negev) who gave a presentation on “The ENP and Euro-Mediterranean Political and Security Cooperation: Back to the Future” and argued that relevant stakeholders, such as EuroMeSCo, should work towards reshaping the discussion on the ENP in order to make the policy more effective and also more coherent in terms of membership. This sparked a broad debate as to whether this is politically feasible and realistic and if it was, what the substance of such a “special ENP Partnership” could be. Although there was widespread consensus that the ENP had to be considered a failure, it was remarked by some participants that it was difficult to achieve, and thus create, a sufficient degree of ownership in the event that the policy would be revised, as an “agreement fatigue” was discernible among southern Mediterranean partners and also as the latter were said to have hardly been proactive with respect to putting forward individual policy proposals aimed at improving the ENP.

The last presentation by Tiago Marques (EVI, Tallinn) focused on “Security Cooperation in the Euro-Mediterranean Area after EU Enlargement: The Role of Regional Security Facilitators” and thus the impact new and small EU member states, such as Estonia, may have. The subsequent debate to a large extent revolved around issues such as “bandwaggoning” and “voice opportunity” and led some participants to argue that the creation of potential alliances of small EU member states may not necessarily have to be seen as detrimental to the objective of supranationalists of creating a unified foreign and defence policy dimension, but rather as a potential source of strength that could even help the EU becoming the main agenda-setter in global politics, as well as in the Euro-Mediterranean area.

To see the programme, please click here

To read the conclusions of the workshop in Arabic, please click here