Syrian Views of an Association Agreement with the European Union

December 2001


This paper deals with the bilateral aspects of a Syrian-European partnership that will eventually be embodied in a Partnership Agreement. Negotiations between Syria and the European Union started in 1998 and speeded up in 2000 after the change in leadership in Damascus. Syria┬┤s new leadership under President Bashar al-Assad had realized that European support under an association agreement might well help the country enter globalization in a more benign way. However, in order to confront globalization successfully, Syria will have to tackle some serious socio-economic challenges. European support can and should be aimed at helping to make Syria able to respond to such challenges. The paper makes several suggestions as to how that could be done, explains what Syria considered to be interests in an association agreement with the EU and outlines the different positions that inform the policy debate within Syria with regard to this issue.

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