Chronology

1957: Signature of the Treaty of Rome which launches the European Economic Community. The desire to cooperate with the Maghreb is already demonstrated in 1969 by the signature of commercial agreements with Morocco and Tunisia.

1972: The European Council meeting in Paris launches the Global Mediterranean Policy (GMP). Above and beyond the purely commercial agreements entered into up until then, this policy aims to give a political and regional dimension to the conduct of affairs with the Mediterranean littoral. The number of bilateral trade agreements increases, and economic and financial components are added: Israel in 1975, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia in 1976, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria in 1977. Greece, Turkey, Malta and Cyprus are granted a special agreements status. Libya and Albania are excluded from all discussions.

1976: Signature of the« Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea » at Barcelona (came into force on February 6, 1978) and adoption of a plan of action for the Mediterranean under the aegis of the UN – the fruit of concerted action involving the EEC and 21 bordering countries.

1981: Greece joins the EEC.

1986: Spain and Portugal join in their turn.

1990: Convinced that « geographical proximity and the intensity of all forms of relations render the stability and prosperity of third party Mediterranean countries essential for the Community itself” the European Commission proposes to launch a “Renewed Mediterranean Policy” (RMP). Endorsed by the European Council in December, this policy aims to reinforce the action of the Community in third-party Mediterranean countries (TPM) by supporting their economic and structural reforms, and to support the process of openness undertaken by certain of these countries.

1993: Signature of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). There are grounds for hope for an end to the conflict in the Near East which itself paves the way for a more ambitious Euro-Mediterranean policy than ever before.

1995:

March: Signature of the customs union accord between the EU and Turkey.

November: Signature of the Treaty of Barcelona which ushers in the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, bringing together the fifteen members of the EU of that time and ten countries and political entities of the southern Mediterranean: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon,  Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and the Palestinian Authority. The treaty provides for the implementation of a global partnership between the two shores of the Mediterranean by means of an intensified political dialogue with the aim of fostering the emergence of a “common zone of peace and stability” and of forging a zone of shared prosperity by promoting economic and financial cooperation, the final aim of which is the creation of a free trade area. In a third section the treaty pleads in favour of understanding between cultures and exchanges between the civil societies in order to work towards a “rapprochement of the peoples”.

November: Signature of the Association Agreement between the EU and Israel – enters into force in June 2000.

1996:

February: Signature of the Association Agreement between the EU and Morocco – enters into force in March 2000.

July : The European Council implements the MEDA programme, the main instrument for financing bilateral and regional cooperation projects within the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. MEDA I will be changed and succeeded by MEDA II in 2000.

1997:

February: Signature of the provisional Association Agreement between the EU and the Palestinian Authority – enters into force in July 1997.

November: Signature of the Association Agreement between the EU and Jordan – enters into force in May 2002.

2001: Signature of the Association Agreement between the EU and Egypt – enters into force in June 2004.

2002: Signature of the Association Agreement between the EU and Algeria – enters into force in September 2005.

2003: The Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum, or Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Dialogue, instituted by the Declaration of Barcelona, is transformed into the permanent Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) which will later become the Parliamentary Assembly Union for the Mediterranean (PA-UfM), the sole parliamentary organ of the Euro-Mediterranean process.

2004:

February: Signature of the Agadir Agreement which aims to create a free trade zone between Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. This project receives the support of the European Commission which grants it 4 million Euros of financial support.

May: The EUexpands from 15 to 25 member states (Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia). To counteract the risk of the emergence of new lines of division between the enlarged EU and its neighbouring countries, the EU Council implements the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) which redefines the framework of relations with bordering countries.

June: Conclusion of a strategic partnership with the Mediterranean and the Middle East, covering the countries of the Mediterranean, the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Iran, Yemen and Iraq – this is in response to the American initiative concerning the “Greater Middle East”.

2005:

January: Europe declares 2005 the «Year of the Mediterranean».

March: First formalmeeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) in Cairo.

November: Extraordinarysummit of Heads of State at Barcelona for the tenth anniversary of the Barcelona Process. Hardly any of the Arab leaders are present. The revival of tension in the Near East brings the Euro-Mediterranean partnership to a halt.

2008: Under theimpetus of the French presidency, the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is officially created in Paris; it is intended to take over from the faltering Barcelona Process. Open to all the countries bordering the Mediterranean, the UfM finally welcomes sixteen of them into its midst beside the 27 members of the EU – Albania, Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Mauritania, Monaco, Montenegro, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey. A joint presidency is installed, shared by one southern country and one northern country. In 2010 its secretariat is installed in Barcelona.

2011:

January: After several weeks of popular uprising in Tunisia, President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali abandons office. The Arab Spring has arrived. One month later, the Egyptian President, Hosni Moubarak, who co-presided the UfM, falls in his turn. A new page must now be written in the relations between Europe and the Euro-Mediterranean world.

2013: Creation in Geneva of the Foundation for the Promotion of a Mediterranean and Euro-Arab Dialogue (FDMEA).

2016:

April: The Global Studies Institute of the University of Geneva publishes a report recommending the launching of “Civil society’s White Paper on Euro-Arab cooperation”.