EU Aid and Euro-Mediterranean Integration
Since the 1970s the EU has singled out the Mediterranean region for close attention. As with the Western element of the former Soviet Union, the Mediterranean is considered a part of Europe’s ‘near abroad’. Due to its geographical proximity there is a far greater degree of interdependence in its relationship with Europe than for other developing countries. Or as Hager put it, the two shores of this sea are linked not precisely by interdependence, but by two distinct kinds of dependence (Hager 1973, 196); Europe is dependent on North Africa and the Middle East for energy supplies and has clear security interests, while the other shore is highly dependent on Europe economically and commercially. The notion of a Mediterranean region has highly symbolic connotations, apart from its historical resonance it is a microcosm of the North-South economic divide and a crossroads of civilizations. These contrasts help throw the political dimension of the EU’s economic diplomacy into sharp relief.