The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership Agreement (EMPA) is a comprehensive economic and political agreement signed by the European Union (EU) and several Mediterranean countries. This agreement aims to establish a closer relationship between Europe and the Mediterranean countries by promoting regional integration, supporting economic development, and fostering political stability.
The EMPA was first established in 1995 as the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed). Its main objective was to create a free trade area between the EU and its Mediterranean partners. Over the years, the partnership has evolved and expanded its scope to include cooperation in areas such as energy, education, and migration.
Today, the EMPA includes 28 EU member states and 10 non-EU Mediterranean countries, namely Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, and Tunisia. Together, these countries represent a market of over 700 million people and a combined GDP of more than €2.5 trillion.
One of the main benefits of the EMPA is the creation of a free trade area between the EU and its Mediterranean partners. This means that goods can be traded between the two regions without tariffs or other trade barriers. This is particularly important for Mediterranean countries, as many of them rely heavily on exports to the EU.
The EMPA also promotes economic development in the Mediterranean region. This is achieved through a range of initiatives, such as the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). These initiatives provide financial and technical assistance to support economic reforms, infrastructure projects, and private sector development.
In addition to economic cooperation, the EMPA also aims to foster political stability and social cohesion in the region. This is achieved through dialogue and cooperation on a range of issues, such as human rights, democracy, and regional security. The EMPA also supports cultural and educational exchanges between the EU and the Mediterranean countries, which helps to promote mutual understanding and tolerance.
Overall, the EMPA is a comprehensive agreement that has the potential to bring significant benefits to both the EU and its Mediterranean partners. Through closer economic and political cooperation, the partnership aims to promote regional stability, support economic development, and foster greater social cohesion in the Mediterranean region.