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Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements

The European Union (EU) concluded Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements between 1998 and 2005 with seven countries in the southern Mediterranean. These agreements effectively provide a suitable framework for North-South political dialogue. They also serve as a basis for the gradual liberalisation of trade in the Mediterranean area, and set out the conditions for economic, social and cultural cooperation between the EU and each partner country.

ACTS

Decision 2006/356/EC, Decision 2005/690/EC, Decision 2004/635/EC, Decision 2002/357/EC, Decision 2000/384/EC, Decision 2000/204/EC, Decision 98/238/EC, concerning the conclusion of a Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and, respectively, the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the State of Israel, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Tunisia.

SUMMARY

The Euro-Mediterranean partnership between the European Union (EU) and the countries of the Southern Mediterranean began in 1995 by the Barcelona process. The political, economic and social partnership is based on the principles of reciprocity, solidarity and co-development.

Under this framework, the Association Agreements have been adopted between the EU, the Member States and the Mediterranean country partners. These bilateral agreements replace the first generation of agreements, i.e. the cooperation agreements of the 1970s.

Adherence to democratic principles and fundamental rights are an essential element of the association agreements.

Although they are bilateral agreements and provide for specific arrangements with each partner State, the association agreements share a similar structure. They are intended to promote the following:

  • regular dialogue on political and security matters, in order to promote mutual understanding, cooperation and joint initiatives;
  • economic, trade and financial cooperation, aimed in particular at gradual trade liberalisation, sustainable development of the region and investment;
  • social and cultural cooperation and on educational matters, in particular through intercultural dialogue, migration control, developing qualifications, promoting labour law and gender equality.

In addition, the agreements encourage intra-regional cooperation between the Mediterranean countries, as a factor for peace, stability and economic and social development.

Towards a free trade area

The association agreements provide for the gradual establishment of a Mediterranean free trade area in accordance with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This free trade area shall be established after a transitional period of twelve years following the entry into force of the agreements. However, free trade between the EU and Israel already exists.

The free movement of goods between the EU and the Mediterranean countries is to result from:

  • the gradual removal of customs duties;
  • the prohibition of quantitive restrictions on exports and imports, and any similar or discriminatory measures between the parties.

The rules will have particular relevance for imports of industrial products and trade in agricultural products, processed or otherwise, and fisheries products.

Safeguard measures may, however, be applied if they are in the public interest, or to protect economic sectors that are particularly vulnerable.

Regarding the right of establishment and the supply of services, the parties reaffirm their commitments under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). In addition, the partners must promote the full liberalisation of the capital sector as soon as the necessary conditions are in place.

Lastly, a mechanism for regulating trade disputes shall be gradually established.

Institutional provisions

Institutional structures are set up under each association agreement. An Association Council, organised at ministerial level, takes decisions and makes recommendations so that fixed objectives can be attained, while an Association Committee manages the agreement and settles differences regarding its application and interpretation.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Decision 2006/356/EC, Lebanese Republic

1.4.2006

-

OJ L 143 of 30.5.2006

Decision 2005/690/EC, People's Democratic Republic of Algeria

1.9.2005

-

OJ L 265 of 10.10.2005

Decision 2004/635/EC, Arab Republic of Egypt

1.6.2004

-

OJ L 304 of 30.9.2004

Decision 2002/357/EC, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

1.5.2002

-

OJ L 129 of 15.5.2002

Decision 2000/384/EC, State of Israel

1.6.2000

-

OJ L 147 of 21.6.2000

Decision 2000/204/EC, Kingdom of Morocco

1.3.2000

-

OJ L 138 of 9.6.2000

Decision 98/238/EC, Republic of Tunisia

1.3.1998

-

OJ L 97 of 30.3.1998

RELATED ACTS

  • Algeria

Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an Association between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, of the other part [OJ L 265 of 10.10.2005].

  • Palestinian Authority

Euro-Mediterranean Interim Association Agreement on trade and cooperation between the European Community, of the one part, and the Palestine Liberation Organization for the benefit of the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, of the other part, [OJ L 187 of 16.7.1997].
The Euro-Mediterranean Interim Association Agreement is intended to apply to the parties until a Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement is concluded. It is mainly concerned with non-political aspects of trade and cooperation between the parties.

  • Egypt

Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an Association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Arab Republic of Egypt, of the other part [OJ L 304 of 30.9.2004].

  • Jordan

Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an Association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, of the other part [OJ L 129 of 15.5.2002].

  • Israel

Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the State of Israel, of the other part [OJ L 147 of 21.6.2000].

  • Lebanon

Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an Association between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Lebanon, of the other part [Official Journal L 143 of 30.5.2006].

  • Morocco

Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part [OJ L 070, 18.3.2000].

  • Tunisia

Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Tunisia, of the other part [OJ L 97 of 30.3.1998].

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

Last updated: 10.03.2011
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