Civil Society Co-operation in the EMP: From Declarations to Practice

May 2002


This paper explores the civil society component in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP). Civil society is given a key role in the Barcelona Declaration of November 1995, as it is seen as an essential stakeholder in the cooperation between the European Union and the Southern Mediterranean countries, thus distinguishing the Barcelona Declaration framework from traditional foreign policy approaches. The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) is designed to help create a region that embraces intergovernmental as well as inter-societal ties around the Mediterranean basin. Without the contribution from societal actors, such a comprehensive policy lacks both legitimacy and effectiveness. However, the implementation of the partnership did not completely match the foreseen objectives. Civil society organisations face several problems to effectively implement their activities and play minor role in political discussions. The paper addresses the underlying reasons for this and analyses the possible effects of this malaise.

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