Political Change in the Mediterranean – Impact on Euro-Mediterranean Relations

June 2008


The paper seeks to address some key concerns regarding political change in the Southern Mediterranean and their impact on Euro-Mediterranean relations, by focusing on the question of perceptions. A CESOP elite survey of experts and senior officials involved in Euro-Mediterranean relations – conducted in the second half of 2007, in collaboration with EuroMeSCo – was taken as the starting point for this analysis of the differences in perception noted between the North and South of the Mediterranean.

Having highlighted the twin challenges of democratic transition and consolidation, the paper goes onto explore how these were addressed in Portugal, Spain and Turkey. These three Mediterranean countries are now either members, or aspiring members of the EU, but all share similar experiences of recent, or still on-going, political reform, under conditions similar to those present in other Southern Mediterranean countries. Lastly, the article presents an overview of what is at stake within the realm of democratisation and political change as regards Euro-Mediterranean relations, evaluating the potential implications of any differences in perceptions, and finally, concluding with some policy recommendations.

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