Publications > Previous Publications > Paper 80: Flexible Multilateralism: Unlimited Opportunities? The Case of Civil Protection in the Mediterranean
Paper 80: Flexible Multilateralism: Unlimited Opportunities? The Case of Civil Protection in the Mediterranean
Written by Niklas Bremberg, Ahmed Driss, Jakob Horst, Eduard Soler i Lecha, Isabelle Werenfels   
Cooperation between European and Mediterranean countries has been promoted through multiple initiatives, each with different goals and geographical scopes. Within the framework of the Union for the Mediterranean, the European Union and its Mediterranean partners are now seeking to push forward projects not only on the full-scale regional level, but also in flexible multilateral formats. Taking the example of civil protection, this report provides an analysis and assessment of experiences with flexible cooperation formats in this policy field.

The new security risks and threats faced by the Mediterranean countries are trans-national in scope and require both preventive and responsive cooperation. For this reason, civil protection in the Mediterranean has become an increasingly important concern for the EU. Recent cooperative experiences in the field of civil protection have demonstrated that flexible multilateral formats – for instance, in the 5+5 sub-regional format – have been successful in prompting dialogue and cooperation on civil protection between the different participating states.

This report argues that flexible multilateralism, applied to the realm of civil protection, allows evasion from the EMP’s rigid format while generally conserving its key-achievements, such as effective inter-governmental collaboration. In the case of civil protection and disaster management, flexible multilateralism is a good alternative to the strictly bilateral, or again, to the often protracted regional multilateral mechanisms. Moreover, governments have strong incentives to opt for flexible multilateralism considering that a prompt and efficient response to disaster management is chief to their domestic legitimacy.

This report was conducted under the auspices of three institutes: SWP, Berlin, CIDOB Foundation, Barcelona, and AEI, Tunis. It was written by Niklas Bremberg, Stockholm University; Ahmed Driss, AEI, Tunis; Jakob Horst, SWP, Berlin; Eduard Soler i Lecha, CIDOB, Barcelona; and Isabelle Werenfels, SWP, Berlin.

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