chapter  15
Testing EU structural diplomacy: the challenge of change in North Africa
Pages 18

The first was more akin to standard diplomacy, an area in which the EU hoped to be more impactful since its agreement on a Common Foreign and Security Policy in the Maastricht Treaty (1992). It also included general commitments to promoting democratic principles and human rights. The economic basket can be broken down into several elements in turn. Bilateral association agreements were to be negotiated and agreed; these involved (reciprocal) free trade and established bilateral institutions. Bilateral aid was offered, together with dialogue and cooperation to help reform. As well as this, regional cooperation forums were envisaged to support cooperation and norm-promotion in more formal ways. The agenda of the third basket was laudable but also challenging, given the undemocratic nature of the regimes in question and the economic and cultural differences between both shores. All in all this was a very elaborate and extensive framework (and arguably the subsequent macro-policy innovations have been superfluous as the EMP provides grounding for all forms of cooperation). To the extent that the aim of the EMP was to reform and integrate the EU’s neighbours into its own system, the learning envisaged was in one direction; the partners were to adopt EU or global (Euro-centric) laws and norms. In the areas of security cooperation and social/inter-cultural cooperation there was more formal equality. In practice the EMP developed on multilateral and bilateral levels but the bilateral level involved more substantial activity. Association Agreements were quickly signed with Morocco and Tunisia (two of the more enthusiastic partners) while Egypt and Algeria took longer to agree them.2 Apart from the economic substance these established a range of bilateral institutions; from Association Councils at the highest political level to Association Committees and working groups. There was substantial activity at the regional level also, although less tangible outcomes.