Publications > Previous Publications > Paper 1: Germany Gradually Becoming a Mediterranean State
Paper 1: Germany Gradually Becoming a Mediterranean State
Written by Volker Perthes   
Germany, initially, was not exactly enthusiastic about the EU Mediterranean initiative. Over the last two years however, German interest in Europe's Mediterranean neighbourhood has been on the increase, and there is growing awareness that the Mediterranean indeed is a European and, as such, a German concern.


1. Approaching the Mediterranean

2. The EMP as a Learning Process

- Economy and Human Rights

- Security and Peace

3. Preparing for 1999

- New instruments for a new type of relations


In 1994 and 1995, when European Union leaders and European Commission administrators began to set the framework for a New Mediterranean Policy, it was hardly lost on anybody that Germany was not exactly enthusiastic about this undertaking. The German government wanted the European Union to give clear preference to its neighbours in Eastern Europe, particularly insofar as financial commitments were involved. Implicitly at least, the Mediterranean was considered a special interest of the Southern European Union member states. Still, during preparations for the European Union Summit of Cannes in the Summer of 1995, Germany sought to limit the European Union budget funds that would be set aside for financial assistance to the Mediterranean partner states. German officials regarded it as a success when the Summit limited that package to the amount of ECU 4,685 million for the 1995-1999 period – almost ECU 1,000 million less than originally proposed by the Commission.

Since that time, however, particularly since the Barcelona Conference of November 1995, German interest in Europe's Mediterranean neighbourhood has been increasing. Two years after Barcelona, Germany's political elite not only gives clear support to the European Union's Mediterranean initiative, it also views the Mediterranean as an important field for the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union, and Mediterranean policies as an overall European as well as a German interest. This paper will briefly sketch the background to this development, it will outline some of the lessons that can be drawn from the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership process so far, and point to some of the Mediterranean issues that may have to be dealt with during the German EU presidency of 1999.

1. Approaching the Mediterranean
In a way, Germany has approached the Mediterranean via Schengen and Amsterdam: the more Europe integrates, and the more domestic European borders disappear, the more is Germany and are German policymakers concerned with developments in the Mediterranean. This is not to say that the German political elite would totally share their French, Italian or Spanish counterparts' perceptions of the Mediterranean and Euro-Mediterranean relations. Germans definitely do not regard themselves as part of a common Mediterranean culture, nor are Germany's relations with individual countries of the region marked by the type of postcolonial-emotional ties that impact on; among others, France's relations with Algeria and Lebanon, or Italy's relations with Libya. What has become more congruent over the last couple of years, however, are Germany's and the Southern EU states' perceptions of risks and security challenges from the Mediterranean and, thus, of the need to develop a common policy towards the area.1

Still, with respect to the states of the Southern Mediterranean and the Middle East, European policymakers, Germans included are somewhat more concerned with classical military risks than they are with respect to other neighbouring regions. Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles are an issue of particular concern. At the same time, it is largely accepted that the countries primarily threatened by these weapons and delivery systems are the regional countries themselves. Considering Europe's interest in a stable and peaceful southern neighbourhood, this is anything but reassuring, it implies, however, that there exists no military security threat from the Mediterranean to Germany or to the European Union at large. The principal security challenges to Germany and the European Union from the region are of a "soft", non-military nature. The main issues presently discussed are migration, drugs, terrorism and what could be called the export of conflicts. Direct environmental risks from the Mediterranean do not figure prominently in the German debate on security-mainly for reasons of geographic distance.

It is not the place here to assess these challenges or make a critical evaluation of their assessment by policymakers in Germany and the European Union. More important, in this context, is the fact that the growing concern in Germany with what is perceived as challenges from the Mediterranean is largely a result of European integration. Thus, with the gradual implementation of the Schengen agreement, migration ceases to be a national problem of individual EU states and becomes a European one. Once a migrant has entered Italy or Spain, there are no more borders left if he wants to reach Germany. Moreover, there is a common fear among those, in Germany and other EU states, who want to further and deepen the integration process, that right-wing groups in their respective countries would exploit the issue of migration in order to renationalize the political discourse and spread anti-EU feelings.

The disappearance of border controls between European Union states is also a critical issue with regard to the problem of illicit drugs and drug trafficking. Today, surface trade between Morocco and Germany, for example, has to pass only one international border. From the perspective of a German security official, therefore, Morocco, as a main drug producer, has become a direct neighbour of Germany, with the one border left, namely the Moroccan-Spanish one, not even under the control of German police. German reservations regarding the efficiency of border controls in some other European countries have not been lost on anybody.

Overall, and most importantly, German policymakers have accepted that the security of Southern Europe and of the entire European Union is closely linked to the stability of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. This includes such issues as terrorism or the export to Europe of regional civil wars or inter-state conflicts – consider, for instance, the not-so-unrealistic scenario of the Turkish-Kurdish or the Algerian civil war being transported to Germany or France via the respective migrant communities. Such risks, as well as migratory pressures, have to be seen against the background of regional instabilities or, more precisely, ongoing territorial conflicts in the region, particularly the Arab-Israeli one, violent domestic power conflicts and socio-economic imbalances. The threat of instability among its Mediterranean neighbours was not only the main reason for the European Union to launch its Euro-Mediterranean Partnership project, but also the main reason for Germany to support it.

In contrast, Germany's economic interests in the Mediterranean remained relatively limited. Exports to the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership partner states (approximately USD 16,4OO million in 1996) represent only some 3 per cent of Germany's total exports. More than 45 per cent of these Mediterranean exports go to Turkey, some l5 per cent to Israel, and around one third to the Arab countries on the Mediterranean. Other than had been the case with regard to the more important markets of Eastern Europe; German industry never lobbied the government for an active policy towards the Mediterranean. Actually, Germany's relations with Libya and Algeria – Germany's oil suppliers number one and three – seemed to prove that longstanding economic relations did not necessarily need a particularly warm political relationship. Over the last couple of years, German business has shown an increasing interest for the Mediterranean. This was largely due to the Middle East peace process and the EU Mediterranean initiative which seemed to promise both a more peaceful and stable region, and easier access for European and German industrial products and investments. It is difficult to imagine, though, that German business interest in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean could ever match that in Central and Eastern Europe.

Germany's policy towards the Mediterranean will most probably continue to be driven primarily by political and security considerations. The German government as well as the political spectrum represented in parliament regard the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership process as a so far largely positive experiment that should be developed and enhanced. There is a particularly strong interest on the part of the German government to co-ordinate its Mediterranean policies with France. The principle of co-ordination in regard to the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership was included in a common position paper agreed upon by the two foreign ministers in October 1996. Consequently, Germany supported the French initiative for a Stability Pact or Stability Charter which, as all EU states had to realise, was considered too ambitious – an approach for the time being by most non-EU members of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. Also, with regard to France's special relationships and concerns, the German government implicitly accepted French leadership in dealing with Algeria.

In other cases, co-ordination with France as well as working under the European umbrella in general, have allowed Germany to keep a relatively low profile. This is particularly so in regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Germany was as critical as other European states were, for instance, of Israel's April-1996 war on Lebanon, the so called operation Grapes of Wrath; it supported French efforts to help engineer a cease fire and establish a mechanism to contain the conflict, but it would not by itself have taken any initiative. Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian track, Germany fully supports EU initiatives on the ground that aim at strengthening the Palestinian entity and supporting its state-building efforts – Germany is in fact the largest single contributor of EU aid to the Palestinians –, but it has remained very cautious in openly criticising, let alone condemning, Israel. Even in this respect, however, changes are underway. A policy of abstention in matters that could involve conflict with Israel is no longer seen as the proper approach by the majority of Germany's political spectrum. Younger policymakers in particular have begun to view Israel as a normal state in the Middle East – special and warm German-Israeli relations notwithstanding – and to act on the premise that solidarity with Israel is best expressed by clear support for the peace process and acknowledgement of Palestinian rights. The Palestinian right to self-determination and statehood is generally accepted.2

Two years into the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership process, Germany has become more Mediterranean than it was at the outset. General interest, of policymakers as well as the public, in developments in the southern neighbourhood of Europe has increased, and there is wide agreement that Germany should constructively contribute to the development of EU Mediterranean policies and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. This was clearly expressed when Germany offered to host the "Barcelona III" ministerial conference in the first semester of 1999. At the same time, some illusions about what the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership would be able to achieve in relatively short time have been overcome. German policymakers, along with most of their European colleagues, have realised that the Barcelona process is a long-term undertaking – with obstacles and limitations that were not that clearly apparent when it was launched.

2. The EMP as a Learning Process
In many respects, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership can be understood as a process of international learning. Basically, the countries that launched and accepted the offer of Euro-Mediterranean "partnership", and the elates of these countries, had to learn that such partnership is not necessarily what a functionalist-optimistic perspective of international relations might suggest: namely, the expression of common interests and common goals of all parties involved. The new relationship which the European Union and its non-European Union partners decided to establish at Barcelona is based on a balance of interests rather than common interest in every sphere.

Economy and Human Rights
There is little doubt that for the European Union's Mediterranean partner states, particularly for the Arab group, the economic and financial partnership is the most important and most interesting element of "Barcelona". The implementation of free trade agreements with the European Union will threaten a considerable part of local industries in these countries. At the same time, however, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership offers the prospect of substantially increased financial aid, privileged access to European markets and, most importantly perhaps, European support to rationalise and modernise the economies of these countries such as to enable them to face the challenges of the prospective Euro-Mediterranean economic space. Consequently, at the Malta ministerial conference of April 1997 and on other occasions, the Arab partner states laid particular stress on the development-dimension of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.

While Europe, all in all, seems to be less interested in the economic than in the political and security, and parts of social and cultural "baskets" of Barcelona, European policy-makers and business are definitely looking forward to the prospects of a Euro-Mediterranean free trade area. The negotiations about association agreements between the European Union and individual Mediterranean partner states sometimes created the impression, however, that European potato-producers, German and Dutch cut-flower growers, or Spanish producers of tomato-concentrate had more leverage over European decision making than those in the national administrations and in Brussels who really wanted to further the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. European societies, it seems, have yet to learn that partnership and free trade are two-way roads, with structural adjustments and the removal of protectionist barriers being demanded from both sides.

It is quite obvious that certain passages agreed upon under the political-partnership basket of the Barcelona Declaration, especially references to the respect of human rights, fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, represent European concerns much more than the interest of the Mediterranean partner states. Consequently, the European Union has also insisted on a human-rights article in all association agreements. It seems that some of the Mediterranean partners accepted the human-rights rhetoric, but never actually intended to adjust their policies in this respect. They might have to learn that Europe takes such commitments seriously and may demand more than lip-service to human rights and the rule of law. Under the stipulations of "Barcelona" and the association agreements, European insistence on the respect of human rights in the partner states (and vice versa if necessary) is not an illegitimate interference in the domestic affairs of these states. If, to give but one example, the European Parliament invites a group of Tunisian human-rights activists, the Tunisian government should know that it better allow these people to travel – all of them, and with no undue obstacles – or risk some hard responses.

Security and Peace
For Europe, the most important dimension of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership is the political and security partnership. In order to enhance its own security, the main concern, from a European perspective, is to make the Mediterranean a less volatile region. The European Union, therefore, has emphasised the need for confidence and security-building measures and it gives great value to the establishment of co-operative schemes and common regional or subregional structures that would help to eventually create a Euro-Mediterranean Area of Peace and Stability. Since it launched the Barcelona initiative, the European Union had to learn, however, that regional security co-operation is not as smoothly, and certainly not as quickly achievable as initially envisaged. It also had to accept, that the Euro Mediterranean Partnership is not by itself sufficient or provides the means to solve regional inter-state or intra-state conflicts.

Thus, as the Arab-Israeli negotiations came into rough waters, Europeans had to learn that there is a causal relationship between "Barcelona" and "Madrid." The Euro Mediterranean Partnership process, in other words, cannot be separated from the Arab-Israeli peace process: once the latter stagnates, as has happened since the Israeli elections of 1996, the former will not proceed, particularly in its security dimension. This became clearly visible at the Malta conference of 1997. The Arab states refused to endorse a document on confidence building measures and also made it clear that they would not support the idea of a Stability Charter as long as the territorial conflict between Arabs and Israelis remained unresolved.3 From an Arab perspective, the European concept of "stability" does not yet fit the Mediterranean and Middle East context. Stability involves, implicitly at least, the invariability of borders and might thus be used as a pretext for Israel's refusal to give up occupied or, according to the Israeli rhetoric, "disputed" territory. More generally, the leading Arab states fear that their negotiation position would be weakened if they agreed to a separation of "soft" security issues from the hard ones that remain to be solved, especially Israel's territorial occupation, and its possession of nuclear arms. They stress that Israel - despite its acceptance of the Barcelona Declaration, which clearly calls for the establishment of a Middle East Zone free of weapons of mass destruction – still refuses to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty and discuss its nuclear armament. Arab representatives also emphasise that the Arab side cannot accept a weapons of mass destruction free zone "à la carte" excluding, for example, nuclear arms, or focusing only on non-proliferation instead of disarmament. Israel, on the other hand, does simply not see the Mediterranean as the proper regional context for a discussion of its nuclear armament or for structural arms control in general. Israeli leaders have repeatedly indicated that they would discuss weapons of mass destruction only if all the states that might pose a nuclear threat to Israel were involved, especially Iraq and Iran as well as, probably, Pakistan.4

Two lessons have to be drawn here if the European Union, and its partners, is interested in pursuing and deepening the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. One is that a nascent Euro-Mediterranean structure will probably not be the proper framework to tackle most questions of arms control and hard security. This is mainly so because the Mediterranean is not the relevant security region for all actors: if arms control is to be discussed, the Mediterranean cannot be separated from the rest of the Middle East, and relevant extra-regional actors, mainly the United States, will have to be involved. Second, if it wants the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership to deal with the "softer" Mediterranean security issues that Europe is concerned with, – migration, drugs, terrorism, the export of conflicts – the European Union will have to accept the causal relationship between "Madrid" and "Barcelona". Certainly, the Barcelona framework can help, and has helped, to stabilise the Middle East peace process. The Euro- Mediterranean Partnership has made it possible for Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinians to take part, together with others, in a structured multilateral dialogue on political, economic, and security issues even during the current stalemate in the peace process. But the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership cannot make up for peace talks, and, more importantly, it will not be sustainable if these talks were to break down completely. Consequently, if the European Union wants the Barcelona process to proceed, it will have to become more active in the peace process and seriously find its "complementary" role to the United States. Declarations and financial support alone are no longer sufficient.

Finally, it has to be stressed that Europe's Mediterranean policies, and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, are not yet, and will probably not very soon become, sufficiently developed to take care of the various other interstate and domestic crises and conflicts in the Mediterranean region. The conflicts in the Balkans are not on the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership agenda. Algeria denies that its civil war is an issue that should be discussed in a Euro-Mediterranean Partnership framework, and it has so far refused to accept any mediation by Europeans or others. The Western Sahara question has been taken care of by the United Nations and former US secretary of State James Baker, not by the European Union or any European state. Europe has been incapable of finding a solution to the Cyprus problem: efforts to solve the crisis are left to a US mediator. One might even argue that the European Union decision to begin accession negotiations with Cyprus, but not with Turkey, has further complicated the Cyprus issue. Aside from all that, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership is, as yet, a somewhat selective grouping. Not only the Balkan states have remained outside its framework. At some point, the relationship with Libya will have to be discussed. Real partnership between Europe and its Southern neighbours cannot, in the long run, exclude the more problematic cases.

3. Preparing for 1999
Essentially, to become more politically involved in the Middle East peace process or other attempts at conflict resolution in its southern environment, the European Union will have to make use of the means it has at its disposition. Also, banal as that may sound, it will have to speak with one voice. The German abstention, in the spring and summer of 1997, from two votes in the UN General Assembly on resolutions reproaching Israel for its settlement policies was anything but helpful, not least so because it foiled a common stance of the European Union. Criticism has been abundant, not only from Arab countries and, more cautiously, from other European Union states, but also from within Germany's bureaucracy and mainstream parties. Most likely, therefore, this mistake will not be repeated.

Meanwhile, Germany is actively preparing for its European Union presidency in the first semester of 1999. Germany will host the "Barcelona III" ministerial conference during that period, and it has therefore a special responsibility for the progress of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. Regarding the central importance for the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership of the Middle East peace process, the first half of 1999 may become a particularly critical period. The following issues, among others, may then be on the European and on the Euro-Mediterranean agenda.

According to the time schedule of the Oslo agreements, Israeli-Palestinian final-status talks should be finished, and a final status for the Palestinian entity should come into effect by May 1999. As things stand today, however, it is not very likely that Israel and the Palestinians will meet that goal. The current Israeli government does not seem prepared to take the decisions which Israel, sooner or later, will have to take if it wants to achieve sustainable peace with its neighbours, namely, and most importantly, a substantial withdrawal from the Palestinian territories, including the evacuation of several settlements, the acceptance of Palestinian statehood and the acceptance of Palestinian sovereignty over parts of Jerusalem. If no final-status agreement is reached by 1999, one should expect a unilateral declaration of statehood by the Palestinian Authority. Israel's reaction is difficult to foresee – it might range from silent recognition to open resistance, including, perhaps, the annexation of parts of the territories or military action. Most states in the world would probably recognise the Palestinian state anyway, and the European Union, with Germany in the president's seat, would have to find a common position. This could become particularly difficult if the United States should fail to endorse the Palestinian move, and Israel should decide to resist it.

Other questions will come up if the current stalemate of the Middle East peace process continues. At some point, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership process itself could be blocked – with some Arab states or Israel deciding to boycott the regular meetings of senior officials and other Euro-Mediterranean Partnership activities, including perhaps the next ministerial conference. This would be a formidable challenge to the European Union and its presidency. The European Union might then have to decide whether to suspend the multilateral activities of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and focus on the multi-bilateral relations with its different Mediterranean partners 5, or to do without Israel, temporarily at least, in order to bridge the stalemate and continue the multilateral partnership process in what basically would be a Euro-Arab format.

The European Union, of course, will do its utmost to prevent such a situation. Europe has only a limited ability to directly influence bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, or Israel and Syria. Given their good and trustful relations with most of the regional parties, however, the European Union and individual European states, Germany included, can do a lot to sponsor second tracks. There is an increasing need for informal discussions between scholars, experts, and officials on questions like threat perceptions, regional security, bilateral and multilateral patterns of co-operation, or their visions for a regional order after a settlement. Such ventures should proceed rather quietly. In addition to that, Europe should encourage and further a regular open exchange of views and analyses between officials from the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership countries and scholars. Among other things, therefore, Germany might host a political-academic seminar on some of the long-term challenges and policy questions facing the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, to be attended by officials and parliamentarians from the European Union, its member states and its Mediterranean partners, and by scholars from the EuroMeSCo network.

New instruments for a new type of relations
Apart from supportive diplomacy, one should not underestimate the European Union's potential leverage over regional actors, especially with regard to the Middle East peace process, Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Due to its strong economic relations with both parties and Israel's as well as the Palestinians' interest in implementing their association agreements with the European Union, Europe has the means to put considerable pressure on either part – if it decides so 6. European leverage is not restricted to parties in the peace process, though. The association agreements so far concluded (with Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Tunisia, and Morocco), about to be concluded (with Lebanon and Egypt), and still to be negotiated (with Algeria and Syria) have not only created a new type of relationship between each of these countries and the European Union. They have also provided the European Union with new policy instruments for their relations with these countries. The new type of relationship, optimistically referred to as partnership, goes beyond the classical type of international, state-to-state relations. Most importantly, European Union-partner state relations are set into a multilateral frame, namely the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. They involve a normative dimension, expressed by references in the respective association agreements, as well as the Barcelona Declaration, to human rights and democracy as the guiding principles for each partner's domestic and foreign policies and to peace, security, development, understanding and even tolerance as policy goals. And they allow and encourage all kinds of transnational relations, i.e., direct interaction between European societies and the societies of the partner countries as well as direct communication and interaction between the European Union and societal actors in each respective country. For most European states, such open relations are anything but new, they are not yet usual, however, between the states of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean or between these states and their partners in the North.

By entering into this new type of relationship, the European Union and its Mediterranean partner states have allowed one another a certain degree of interference into what, in a strictly realist conception of international politics, would be their respective "domestic affairs". According to the association agreements, either party may take "appropriate measures", if the other does not live up to its commitments. In principle, this stipulation cuts both ways: Morocco, for example, would be entitled to take such measures if European Union states were to discriminate against its citizens. In practice, however, regarding the actual differences of economic power, and the rather one-sided structure of Euro-Mediterranean economic interdependence, the non-compliance clause is an instrument of pressure for the European Union, primarily with respect to human rights abuses or other policies considered as violations of the guiding principles and goals of the agreements. Financial aid, of course, is another strong tool, and has always been. What is new in this respect is, first, the possibility of direct European Union support to nongovernmental organisations in the partner countries. Second, the attribution of European Union funds to a region – namely all Mediterranean partner states – rather than to an individual country: how much of the funds eventually will flow to each particular country is largely a question of performance.

In the next couple of year, while gradually beginning to implement the association agreements and, probably, deepening the multilateral dimension of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the European Union will have to find out for itself and explain to its Mediterranean partners to what extent it actually wants to make use of such new policy instruments, and whether and how a refinement of these instruments, and the creation of others, might be necessary. Will the European Union, for example, resort to the suspension of an association agreement, or parts thereof, in case of grave human rights violations in, say, Syria or Tunisia? Would the European Union consider shifting funds from the Palestinian Authority to Palestinian civil society organisations in case of serious mismanagement, or serious infringements on citizens’ rights, by the Authority? Is the European Union prepared to apply a strict reading of its association agreement with Israel, and thereby prevent the import of products from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories? Is it prepared, and how, to encourage dialogues between governments and opposition groups in its partner countries, to work with civil society actors even against the wishes of a particular government, to support good governance, or to give serious backing to subregional co-operation between any group of states in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership?

Some serious thought should be given to these questions, and more generally to the options and limitations of policy instruments. Regarding the policy tools and options now at hand, primarily for the European Union, in this new type of relationship with its Mediterranean neighbours, a general dilemma is clearly apparent. Once the European Union decides to actively use these instruments as means of pressure – on human rights issues, for instance, or other questions traditionally considered "domestic", – some regimes in the Mediterranean may prefer to renounce the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, and do without it. If, on the other hand, there was no will on the part of European Union policymakers and leaders to use the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership instruments, it would be difficult to explain how and why the European Union should play a political role, in the Middle East or elsewhere.

1. See in more detail: Volker Perthes, «tahaddiyat amniya min al-mutawassit? ru’ya almaniya» (Security Challenges from the Mediterranean? A German view), in al-Nahar, 12 and 13 December 1997.

2. See, for example, Hermann Gröhe, «Netanjahus Kurs ist falsch», in Rheinischer Merkur, 6 June 1997 [Gröhe is an MP, and member of the Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, for the governing CDU]; SPD Bundestagsfraktion, «Europe and the Middle East», Principles of Social-Democratic Policy on the Middle East 1997, Bonn 1997

3. For more detail: Fred Tanner, «The Euro-Med Partnership: prospects for Arms Limitations and Confidence Building after Malta», in The International Spectator, Vol. 32 (April-June 1997), pp.3-25.

4. The Arab and Israeli positions on this issue has been dealt with extensively by regional and non-regional scholars. See for example Mohammad El-Sayed Selim, «Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership: Towards a New Agenda», paper presented at the EuroMeSCo meeting in Rome, 4-5 June 1997; Gerald Steinberg, «European Security and the Middle East Peace Process», Mediterranean Quarterly, Vol. 7 (Winter 1996), nº1, pp 65-80

5. The "multi-bilateral" concept is borrowed from Roberto Aliboni. It indicates that relations between the European Union and individual non-EU partner states do not actually constitute bilateral relations: they involve 15 states and the Union on one side, and one state on the other.

6. For a practical approach, see for example: Muriel Asseburg and Volker Perthes (eds.), Surviving the Stalemate: Approaches to Strengthening the Palestinian Entity, Ebenhausen (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik), 1998. Forthcoming.