Barcelona Process
 The Barcelona Conference, in November 1995, brought together the member-states of the European Union and its proposed Mediterranean partners to agree on a declaration of intent about the policies they were to adopt. This declaration - the  Barcelona Declaration - is the founding document of the Barcelona Process, the name commonly given to the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (the EMP).
In effect, the EMP is a complex European Union-inspired initiative to construct an holistic policy for the Mediterranean basin which will allow its partners to collaborate in constructing a zone of shared peace, prosperity and stability.

In the Barcelona Declaration, this is expressed in terms of three objectives:


The definition of a common area of peace and stability through a reinforced political and security dialogue;
The construction of a zone of shared prosperity through an economic and financial partnership and the gradual creation of a free trade zone in order to integrate the Mediterranean partners more closely with the European Union’s economic system, which is the largest in the region, and
The creation of closer links between peoples in the region through a social, cultural and human partnership designed to encourage mutual understanding and cooperation between civil societies there.


The policy itself consists of three baskets of measures, each designed to respond to an area of potential concern within the region in a cooperative fashion:



  • The first basket deals with common security concerns and will eventually generate a Charter for Peace and Stability in the Mediterranean, in which the detailed policy guidelines will be enshrined. It also addresses issues of political governance, seeking to encourage democratic government and respect for human rights throughout the Mediterranean basin.
  • The second basket deals with economic cooperation and is based on the principle of free trade on a bilateral basis, between the European Union and each of the Southern Mediterranean partner-states in order to promote economic development. Normally this is done through a series of bilateral association agreements but Israel and Turkey have slightly different arrangements although the principles involved are substantially the same.
  • The third basket is concerned with developing links between societies in the Mediterranean basin and in Europe by encouraging the growth of civil society. It also seeks to promote cultural awareness and mutual cultural respect throughout Europe and the Mediterranean region.
The Barcelona Declaration also established a mechanism to ensure that the objectives and principles it proclaimed could actually be met in practice. This was the Work Programme which defined four instruments for monitoring the evolution of the policy:


  • Periodic meetings of the foreign affairs ministers of the  thirty-five partner-states of the EMP: Their function is to monitor the application of the Barcelona Declaration and to define the actions that must be undertaken to achieve its objectives. To date, the ministers have met  twelve times for this purpose - in  Malta, Palermo, Stuttgart, Lisbon, Marseilles, Brussels,  Valencia, Crete, Naples, Dublin, The  Hague and Luxembourg. The Palermo and Lisbon meetings were informal meetings.
  • The Euro-Mediterranean Committee for the Barcelona Process: This consists of Senior Officials from the  thirty-five member-states, together with similar representation from the European Union’s "troika". Its tasks are to prepare the foreign ministers meetings, monitor and evaluate the outcomes and follow-ups of such meetings, as well as of all aspects of the Barcelona Process, and to update the work programme, as required.
  • The Senior Officials Committee: This consists of Senior Officials from the thirty-five member-states. Its task is to deal with the first basket and, thus, discuss all political and security-related issues, and to monitor all political developments in the Euro-Mediterranean area.
  • The European Commission: The appropriate departments and directorate-generals of the European Commission - principally the Directorate-General for External Relations and, before it, DG-1B - are responsible for the detailed preparatory and follow-up work from decisions by both the Committee and the foreign ministers meetings. The financial management of the Partnership is handled by the Commission's EuropeAid Cooperation Office, in accordance with the strategy set by the Directorate-General for External Relations.
The actions defined by the foreign ministers of the Partnership are realised by ad hoc meetings of ministers, Senior Officials and others - whether in government or from civil society - who take the necessary steps in this respect.