The Barcelona conference: Launching pad of a process

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The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership Initiative marks a shift in EU Mediterranean policy from bilateral economic agreements to a multilateral approach. The Barcelona Conference was above all a political gesture, an act of political recognition of the Euro-Mediterranean dimensions of socio-economic realities and security concerns. For Spain, the conference was also an opportunity to revive the government's domestic political fortunes and to repay Catalan nationalists for parliamentary support. The EU is now allocating more resources to its Mediterranean neighbours, and the conference itself created a propitious atmosphere for greater agreement. However, important differences were expressed over political and security questions, and the section of the Barcelona-approved Work Programme relating to such matters is the shortest and least precise. Official Spanish satisfaction over the conference must be set against more sceptical 'alternative' responses. that point to a persisting European proclivity to impose its cultural values and economic interests on the South.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-42
JournalMediterranean Politics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996

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