The European Union and the Maghreb countries : assessing a north-south relationship
This study is concerned with the relationship between the European Union(EU) and the Maghreb countries from its inception up to now. It sets out to examine the effects that the Union policy, in its different phases and proper instruments, appears to have had on the Maghreb countries. The claim of the thesis is that the outcome of this policy, in relation to its goals in the various areas during earlier phases, has been less than satisfactory. It further argues that if the present phase is not accompanied by a much more assertive presence of, and active role from, the EU in this region, it is most likely to prove highly costly to the Maghreb countries and may amount as a result to an additional disappointing attempt. To develop and illustrate these arguments, the study is divided into three parts. The first part, consisting of two chapters, surveys the major theoretical debate on North-South relations and attempts a definition of the nature and characteristic features of the Euro-Maghreb relationship along with an examination of certain determinant factors in its evolutionary process. The second part, composed of two chapters, takes stock of, and assesses the comparative achievements/shortcomings of former phases of the EU policy towards the Maghreb countries both initially in the area of trade, and later with the addition of issues of economic aid and migrant labour. The third part, made up of two chapters, considers the EU's present partnership approach that is essentially a European response to the implications arising from growing socio-economic dislocation and political instability in the Maghreb region. On the one hand, it reviews the sources of that potential instability and, on the other hand, attempts an evaluation of the partnership arrangements in their immediate effect and future prospects. Finally, a number of implications for a better approach to the future development of the relationship between both sides emerge from the summary and suggestions of the concluding chapter.