Institute of European Studies
Economic Liberalism between Theory and Practice
- Author(s): Tovias, Afred
- et al.
Alfred Tovias argues that the EU’s efforts to promote economic liberalization in the southern Mediterranean rely on the principles and instruments of economic liberalism within the so-called "second basket" of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. This paper focuses on the contradictions between the EMP’s underpinning principle of economic liberalism, upheld by the EU on a theoretical and declaratory level, and both the methods suggested to achieve this principle and the EU’s conduct of the economic dimension of the EMP in practice. The author argues that the EMP's economic component cannot attain its own declared objectives, namely the stabilization and growth of Arab Mediterranean economies. This is because the EMP’s economic strategies do not lead to real economic integration of southern Mediterranean states into the European economy. In the absence of reforms of the EMP's economic tools, the author is dubious of their success. The full implementation of the Euro-Mediterranean free trade agreements will be the acid test of the economic rationale of the EMP and its initiators.