The European Parliament and the Mediterranean in the Age of Global Governance

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The European Parliament and the Mediterranean in the Age of Global Governance :

A Difficult Partnership

José M. Magone Berlin School of Economics and Law Badensche Strasse 50-51 10825 Berlin-Germany Tel:+49 30 85789-163 Fax:+49 30 85789-199

Paper to be presented to the Third Global International Studies Conference,University of OPorto 17-20 August 2011

José M. Magone(Berlin School of Economics and Law)

The European Parliament and Mediterranean in the Age of Global Governance : The Difficult Partnership

This paper wants to assess the policies of the European Parliament towards the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership/Union of Mediterranean since 1995/2008. It will focus on the delegations of the Maghreb,Mashreq, Israel, Palestinian Legislative Council and Parliamentary Assembly Union of Mediterranean. It will try to delineate the main instruments of influence of the EP in relation to the overall EU policies. The paper intends to look at the documents of these three delegations and reconstruct the policy making of the European parliament. One particular issue will be to know if there has been learning processes in the way the EP deals with the region. Another aspect of the paper will be an assessment if the behind the scenes work of the European Parliament has been conducive to improvement of democratic efforts and human rights in the region. Moreover, the internal workings of the delegations will also be studied, particularly in order to assess how prestigious such a position is within the EP structure. Last but not least, the relationship of role of EP delegations to both European Commission and European Council will be discussed. There is some ambition also to develop some theoretical thoughts on the impact of such delegations in the context of global governance.

1.The EU and the Mediterranean: The Politics of Stagnation

After more than 16 years of a more intensive cooperation between the European Union and the Mediterranean, the overall picture is one of stagnation. The Barcelona process initiated by the Spanish presidency in 1995 was designed to change the dynamics in the relationships between the European Union and the southern Mediterranean. The socalled ‘Euro-Mediterranean partnership’ was intended to create a huge space which would in long term perspective create a market based on the principles laid out by the European Union. The whole project included three main baskets, modelled after the highly successful Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe(CSCE) that today has become an important Organisation. The three baskets of political and security, economic cooperation towards the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area and social, cultural and human affairs partnership were intertwined and should in long term perspective strengthen the relationships between the EU and the southern rim of the Mediterranean.

However, one of the major problems of this cooperation was the fact that most of these southern Mediterranean states, if not all, apart from Israel ,were not working democracies. They could be called as ‘Illiberal democracies’ as Fareed Zakariah quite rightly described them, ‘semi-democracies’, patrimonial democracies, facade democracies or pseudo-democracies, but they did not comply to the most important values set out in the main treaties of the European Union.(Zakariah,2007: see particularly on the Arab states 119-159). In spite of the use of democratic conditionality in bilateral agreements, the reality was that the EU closed its eyes in order to facilitate the relationship.

A second major crux of the problem was the fact that the southern Mediterranean countries did not feel treated at equal level with the European counterparts, particularly after 9/11. The best example is clearly analysed by Richard Gillespie in a report on the celebration meeting of the tenth anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership in Barcelona in November 2005. Although the meeting took place in Barcelona as a tribute to Spanish diplomacy, it was during the British presidency. Indeed, this fact is very important, because the main issue on the agenda were security interests of the European Union, particularly the fight against terrorism. The main purpose of the meeting, instead of celebration, was to streamline efforts by the southern Mediterranean countries in the fight against terrorism. The consequence was that high-ranking officials of the southern Mediterranean countries decided not to attend, in stead sending lower ranking officials.(Gillespie, 2006:273-77)

A third major issue is also uneven level of development between the EU and all the southern Mediterranean countries. This does not mean only in terms of statistics, but also of economic mentality and culture. The legal-rational framework necessary for a liberal market economy is still not there, instead neo-patrimonial legal or semi-legal systems still undermine the functioning of markets in the southern Mediterranean. The lack of democratic accountability and transparency clearly further undermine the conditions for a thriving market economy. This is linked to the first major issue, democracy and democratization. Democracy is not just elections, it is a highly complex transition to a new system of rules based on transparency and accountability of the ruling elected elite to the citizens. The role of education towards citizenry cannot be achieved over night, it is a work of generations. As Philippe Schmitter pointed out some time ago, democracy and democratization entails transformation of intertwined partial regimes of governance, e.g. electoral governance, relationship between interest groups and public institutions, the creation of viable interest groups, the establishment of a legal order with law enforcement, and good governance in all fields of public policy.(Schmitter,1995).

The Arab spring movement that is still ongoing and may last over several years, maybe decades, shows that the EU clearly made the mistake to trade off the original ambitions of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership for political and economic stability in most southern Mediterranean countries. The lack of answers to the Arab spring movement soon after it broke out, showed the incapacity of the EU to play a role in its own backyard. The lack of flexibility in dealing with a new situation shows the inertia in the construction of the foreign policy institutions within the European Union. Baroness Catherine Ashton was not able to show leadership in a unique opportunity for the European Union. The whole discourse of the European Union in the world is about democracy and human rights, however in the crucial moment, the whole approach towards support of democratic movements was slow and at least in the beginning quite ineffective.

Shortly before the Arab Spring , the European Union concentrated their efforts in watering down the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. The first blow to the whole project was the merging of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership with the European Neighbourhood Policy. The original quite focused Euro-Mediterranean partnership related to democratization, development and transregional market building was changed to a rationale of external border security, even if the emphasis on cooperation was kept. Last but not least, the relaunching of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership by the project of French president Nicholas Sarkozy of a Union for the Mediterranean further undermined the efforts of the past. Between 2008 and 2011, the Union for the Mediterranean was not very active. On the contrary, the relaunch did not lead to a new dynamics of the partnership.

In spite of this lacklustre performance in relation to the southern Mediterranean, one should not discard the efforts that were made to bring the two parts of the Mediterranean closer together. One important actor in this respect has been the European Parliament through its external delegations to the Maghreb, Mashreq, Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Particularly, theParliamentary Assembly for the Union of the Mediterranean that exists since 2004 under different names has to be mentioned in this respect. It emerged out of the Conference for Security and Cooperation in the Mediterranean set up in the 1980s and became an important forum for dialogue within the Barcelona process. Meanwhile, a seventh meeting took place in 2011. This paper tries to assess the role of the European Parliament in global and transregional governance issues. After this section, we will discuss the place of the European Parliament within European foreign policy in the age of global governance A third section will deal with the emergence of interparliamentary assemblies as non-state actors within the global governance system. This has become a major expanding field within the networks of global governance. The last session deals with the impact of the European Parliament through their work in the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly.

2.The European Parliament and European Foreign Policy in the Age of Global Governance

According to the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Parliament is not an important actor in the decision-making process of European foreign policy. On the contrary, the European Parliament has just consultative powers(Vanhoonacker, 2011:90). The dominance of the member-states in the shaping of European foreign policy is still one of the major characteristics of the way European foreign policy is done in the European Union. The role of the High Representative of the Union of Foreign Affairs, presently Baroness Catherine Ashton, is just one of coordination and management following the instructions of the member-states in the Council of Foreign Affairs. The role of the European Parliament is greatly diminished due to the sometimes competing roles for the president of the European Council and the High Representative. Moreover, the six-monthly rotating presidency of the European Union at Council level further complicates this decision-making process. European foreign policy is a work in progress, is still in construction, which clearly constrains, but also allows paradoxically, the European Parliament to play a role due to the complexity of the whole process. In someway, High Representative Catherine Ashton is responsible and accountable to the European Parliament. It has to respond to the critical questions of Members of the European Parliament. This clearly helps to make European foreign policy more democratic and transparent. So far, High Representative Catherine Ashton has not been very impressive, and the European Parliament has played a major role in showing the weak spots of her lacklustre performance. Particularly, in relation to the Arab Spring the European Union gave the impression of inertia in terms of decision-making. Instead of supporting the pro-democracy movement, there was some waiting and delaying of decision-making. However, in her speech to the European Parliament on 11 May 2011, she made an interesting point that clearly is an important element of democracy promotion of the European Union. She differentiated between ‘surface’ and ‘deep’ democracy, making the case that democracy is a long term project, not just the call for fair and just elections. This clearly shows the technocracy of democracy-making in the European Union. Moreover, she made aware of the fact that the former colonial past of many European countries could have a negative effect on the way intervention by the European Union is perceived.(Ashton,2011). Also the intervention of France and the UK in Libya after a favourable vote of the United Nations Security Council to establish no fly zones over Libya, in order to protect civilians n Benghazi against the attacks of the troops of colonel Qhaddafi, while the High Representative was urging for a more unanimous approach. (The Guardian,17 March 2011). Moreover, decisive action of the European Union did not emerge out of UN Resolution. Germany from the outset abstained and did not take part in military operations. The coalition of the willing was led by France and UK, and only much later did some countries of NATO joined the military intervention.(BBC,15 April 2011).

In this context, the European Parliament has been a vehement support of the pro-democracy movement. Such support has been also characterised by cross party group support. Military intervention was regarded by Members of the European Parliament as a legitimate action, if civilian lives are at stake.

What does this mean for European foreign policy? It means that the European parliament fulfils today an important counterforce to the still quite fragmented intergovernmental decision-making process in terms of European foreign policy. As Michael E. Smith has show on the emergence of common foreign and security policy, in most soft power decisions the EU acts transgovernmentally and unanimously. Three principles govern this transgovernmentalism: confidentiality, consensus and consultation. This established principles led to the emergence of procedural rules that in long term perspective became codified as customs(Smith,1998:317-324). The transgovernmental network of diplomats and politicians have developed a coutumier, a handbook for all eventualities.(Smith, 1998:318). In many ways, the main aspect of European foreign policy is that it was established in the shadow of market making policies, so that today still it is a cumbersome Habermasian ‘domination-free’ communicative action process where consensus is central to it. However, power, economic and political interests of individual countries are sidelined in this transgovernmentalist design of European foreign policy. It means that when decisions have to be taken within a very short period of time, the whole transgovernmental network comes into crisis, unable to offer a solution. Catherine Ashton’s ‘surface’ and ‘deep’ democracy are metaphor for this transgovernmental network that really needs time to come to decisions.

Although the European Union is the most developed and sophisticated governance network in the world, its European foreign policy has been growing very slowly and in the shadow of market making policies. The origins of the EU in economic cooperation still shape many of the sanctions that are in most cases of economic nature, e.g the Syrian government.(Catherine Ashton,2011).

The transgovernmental organisation of European foreign policy has to be complemented by delegation of powers to the main decision-makers including the use of force if necessary. Otherwise, the EU will not be able to establish itself as a world power.

One of the main coordinates of the European Union is the partnership with the United Nations. This is a crucial constraint and commitment to multilateralism in world politics. As such it is already a major breakthrough that all member-states adhere to the authority of the United Nations and want to uphold it. The EU remains the largest contributor to the budget and all other operations of the UN.(European Commission,2001a,European Commission 2001b; European Commission 2003). As such it needs to improve its efficiency in pushing forward its own interests of a ‘likeminded community’ based on the Treaty of Lisbon. (concept borrowed from Huntley, 1998:146-7). The main problem has been that the transgovernmental principles are being challenged by a rapid changing global governance system which needs ‘hard’ power fast decisions from the European Union.

According to Mario Telò the European Union needs to put its act together and push forward its social model of capitalism against the US American model. Clearly he follows very much the quite optimistic view of Jeremy Rifkin in his book ‘The European Dream(Rifkin,2005). Clearly, in the context of the finance crisis and the dangers of deregulated uncontrolled capitalism, the European Union presents a great alternative to change the world system towards a socially and environmentally compatible capitalism. Telò asserts as follows:

The renewal of the ‘European socio-economic model’ constitutes an original response, which is both powerful and simple, to the question of the EU’s common identity within the global governance. There cannot be a European civilian power in the sense of a normative European message combined with regulating might, if Europe cannot find new ways of marrying economic strength with social cohesion. Nor can either of these flourish if Europe’s socio-historical identity becomes fragmented and ‘normalized’, according to rules drafted by external forces, rather than renewed and transformed into a driving force capable of shaping the partially globalized world.(Telò,2005:154).

The pushing of the European socio-economic model is already happening through environmental policy initiatives and social policy initiatives in the International Labour Organisation upholding and enhancing social rights and the inclusion of the social clause in World Trade Organisation agreements( Orbie,Tortell,2009; Kerremans,Orbie,2009). Moreover, a European corporate social responsibility is also in the making which may in long term perspective change mentalities within transnational corporations. However, these initiatives are still fragmented, there is a lack of a vision,strategy and commitment to the expansion of the European socio-economic model.

The technocratic transgovernmental model of European foreign policy is not discarded at all in this paper. Long term networks should not be only transgovernmental, but within the new regionalism transregional. (Magone,2006:257-277) Similar to counterparts, the European Parliament is not required to have an independent foreign policy to the European Union. On the contrary, it has to fit in and renew with imagination the foreign policy of the European Union. The European Parliament has been so far an important ambitious actor in the overall institutional framework. It did not only launched new initiatives like the European Initiative of Democracy and Human Rights[EIDHR] which was then taken over by the European Commission as part of its policies, but also has been a critical observer and informally shaper of EU foreign policy, particularly during and after interventions of the EU.(Smith, 2000:626).

The European Parliament is an important forum to follow up and deepen the global governance efforts of the European foreign policy. In a future-oriented polity as the European Union, it is important that the European Parliament creates its own space and logics of influence. In this sense, the European Parliament should reinforce the policies of the Council of the European Union through informal and formal cooperation frameworks. The social construction of a European foreign policy requires a strong parliamentarianism that always reminds policy-makers of democratic constraints and challenges. Moreover, similar to its parliamentary counterparts the European parliament does not conduct European foreign policy, but checks it through accountability and transparency mechanisms. Furthermore, it shapes as well and pushes for new policy areas.

As already mentioned at the beginning European foreign policy is work in progress, it actually being socially constructed and only time will give a distinctive personality to this kind of activity. In a transition from international relations to a global governance paradigm, the old and new are still mixed, realism related to the status quo is paralleled by a future-oriented social constructivism. The European Union itself has an internal conflict between the old ways of nation-state foreign policy and the new way of collective action in a rapidly changing world. The European Union is not only still in the making, but it is shaping the future oriented paradigm of global governance. Indeed, the European foreign policy has introduced new ‘civilian’ ways of cooperation within globalization. As Ben Rosamond assert the EU is an environment maker, it shapes the environment which also is shaping the EU. (Rosamond, 1999:666). Until now it has been a Sisyphus work, because it was unable to find equal partners in other parts of the world, apart from the United States. However, the longer the environment is shaped through new regionalism, the EU-UN partnership and other forms of soft power, it clearly will socialise other actors and non-actors in the same direction of global governance. This is the true message of European foreign policy as it is presented today. It is part of the neo-Medievalism that Hedley Bull predicted at the end of the 1970s in his ‘Anarchical Society’(Bull,2002:245-246 ). There he clearly showed that the Neo-Medievalism is a transition from a realist system of international relations to something else, that I would call the era of global governance.

Internationally, the EU failed so far to make a major impact in the minds of policy makers and populations of other countries. Its salience is weak and almost unknown. This lack of knowledge of a distinctive European foreign policy may say something about the lack of projection , in spite of being a major contributor to the United Nations and the world system. In reality, China is becoming actually the main challenger to the United States in the perception of people in different regions of the world.(Fioramonti, Lucarelli, 2008:199).

The danger in this respect is that at the moment we are experiencing a period of hegemonic struggle. The financial weakness of the United States, the damage of the US model after the finance crisis, and the strategic policies of China are making the future more unpredictable. China clearly is interested in securing the raw materials from different parts of the world and is building a strong maritime presence similar to the Portuguese, Spaniards, Dutch, British and the US. Particularly, India is looking at China’s maritime strategy with considerable worry.(Weisser,2011). Fulvio Attinà in his very interesting Italian book The Security of the States in the Age of American Hegemony made aware of a systemic interpretation based on the studies of George Modelski. Indeed, according to Modelski, the period between 2000 and 2026 is a period of instability and decentralization of military alliances. In many ways, in this period it is expected that a hegemon may emerge at the end of 2050. There is potentially the danger of a global war. (Attinà,2003:79-83; Modelski,2000:50-51)


Source:own graph based on Attinà,2003:81; Modelski, 2000:50-51

Such danger can be avoided by a stronger engagement of the EU and other the powers towards a global peace scenario. In comparison to other periods of history, multilateralism has become much stronger due to the democratization of most states. The network of global institutions and fora for conflict resolution have increased considerably. China remains an uncertain factor, because it is not a democratic country, but a dictatorship and as such not very transparent in terms of strategic thinking. One can only try to deduct some long term strategy out of the behaviour of the Chinese political and military establishment.

In this regard, the recent militarization of Common Foreign and Security Policy since the adoption of Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice Treaties will probably increase. Moreover, the ‘civilian’ power will have to become a ‘realist’ one in order to compete with other powers for raw materials, also those in the Maghreb, Mashreq and the Middle East. The Libyan War may have also its Realpolitik dimension due to the fact that it is a oil-rich country. In this transition period from a system of international relations to a global governance paradigm, the EU cannot rely only on instruments of soft power, but also build some hard power ones in order to achieve some socio-economic hegemony.

Presently, European foreign policy is certainly not loud, it is more transgovernmental reflecting a long term commitment to dialogue and cooperation. It is about the social construction of new spaces which become fluid and hopefully in long term perspective become similar to that of the European Union. One of the strategic aims of the European Neighbourhood Policy is to technocratically restructure inefficient market places into functioning ones. However, one of the major difficulties is to engage with non-democratic regimes, in which there are no real governance systems like in the European Union. Governance clearly emerges in democratic political systems and is an expression of systemic complexity. It entails the cooperation between three kinds of actors in a context of democratic freedom, transparency and accountability: the public actors, the private economic sector and civil society actors. The interplay between these three kinds of actors leads to a complex system of interactions and influences that can be characterised as governance. The paradigm of governance as such emerged during the 1970s as a response to the stagnation of the public sector and economies in most western countries. Since then, there has been a transformation of the public sector through the new public management instruments which interacts more closely both with the private sector and civil society actors. In the case of the European Union, governance has become multi-level and multi-layered due to growing interactions of all three actors at different levels of the emerging EU political system. The Europeanization thrusts since the mid 1980s have contributed to a more integrated multilevel governance system.(Hooghe,Marks,2001;Magone,2006).

If we contrast this democratic governance system with most partners in the European Neighbourhood policy, one has to come to the conclusion that we are deadling with worlds apart. From Russia to Morocco, these countries will need generations to achieve the level of democratic governance that the European Union has achieved over the past fifty years. However, it is also important to stress that within the European Union some governance regimes are more developed than others and that some countries have a higher level of governance complexity than others.

Therefore, EU foreign policy is quite preoccupied with goodfit of external governance. Recent studies show that inter-regional relations are not always established on equal terms. Sandra Lavenex and Frank Schimmelfenning show that at least two variables determine the way external governance with third countries. On one hand, there are the modes of external governance- hierarchy, network or market- influenced by the studies of Arthur Benz(2009:86) and Tanja Börzel(2007:69) . On the other hand, it is important to analyse the effectiveness of external governance according to rule selection, rule adoption and rule application. Here one can see extreme differences between on one hand the quite inefficient rule adoption and application in European neighbourhood policy countries and the quite goodfit and effectiveness with Switzerland and the European Economic area countries Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein.(Lavenex, Schimmelfennig,2009:796-805).

Due to the neo-patrimonial or still weak democratic transition structures in most countries of the southern Mediterranean, the governance structures of the EU show a strong misfit and imbalance. The EU is engaged in shaping the environment, in socially constructing its external neighbourhood towards their model. However, the main condition is that these countries have democratic structures with a considerable level of systemic complexity. This is relevant both for hierarchical, network and market governance modes on one hand, and effectiveness of external governance on the other hand.

A successful social construction of a transregional governance region based on functioning market structures, a functioning transparent and accountable hierarchy and a dense dynamic network culture pre-disposes established democratic structures, however by now the EU is still in the pre-stage of democracy promotion, and this is done very inconsequently. As Richard Youngs has stated in many of his publications, the main problem of the EU related to the southern Mediterranean is that democratic conditionality was not used to activate regime change towards democracy.(Youngs,2009:897; see also Youngs,2002). The EU has supported pseudo-change in these Arab states, while allowing dictators like Bouteflika in Algeria, Ben-Ali in Tunisia or Mubarak in Egypt consolidate their neo-patrimonial regimes. Stability was chosen over democratic change, so that the Tunisian revolution became quite a surprise for European leaders. The scandal around former French foreign Minister Michéle Alliot-Marie who accepted free holidays from Ben-Ali’s Tunisian government shows really the level of accommodation with the southern Mediterranean neo-patrimonial leadership. She had to resign. Later on, it was found out that the defence minister was also involved with the former Tunisian regime. Also it came out that defence minister Gérard Longuet, before he took that position spend his holidays in Tunis and was partly paid by the Tourist Office. (The Guardian, 7 February 2011; The Telegraph, 31 May 2011).

. As already mentioned above, the agenda of the tenth anniversary meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership in 2005 was dominated by EU interests to streamline security policies towards terrorism prevention of southern Mediterranean countries.

The European Union has the opportunity to become a regional hegemon along its borders. However, the policies so far have been moderately effective, and less so in the southern Mediterranean(Youngs,2009:900). There is a real danger, in the context of the next 15 years, that the EU may lose the legitimacy and ability to remain a regional hegemon along its borders. A more dynamic approach has to be developed in order to achieve more influence among the border countries. The delegations of the European Parliament remain an important instrument to change mentalities and socially construct new more democratic spaces for sophisticated external governance.

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