Despite its importance, the Mediterranean increasingly gives the impression of being a poor relative of Europe. There is a net dividing line between the North and the South, but over the past 25 years, Europe has kept a negative attitude of rejection and that could only be explained by the lack of a joint strategic project for its southern flank. The European expansionist policy was first aimed at the north, then at the south of Europe, and finally, to the East in detriment of the countries from the southern Mediterranean. As a first step, a border was drawn to delimit carefully the countries of southern Mediterranean, including Turkey, regarding “Europe”. This policy has been dramatic for the relations between the populations from the two banks due to the lack of free circulation and difficulties in developing commercial relationships. It aroused suspicions and perpetual questioning of the immigration and turned it into a border of concern for Europeans.
Until the Barcelona Conference 1995, the relationship was more of indifference than of neighborhood. As of that date, a strictly commercial policy was enforced, which in exchange for financial transfers and the promise of participating in a free trade area with Europe in 2010, demanded the dismantling of tariff barriers in the South and open the markets to European products. The balance of such a policy is dark and Barcelona process should disappear for the benefit of the “great neighborhood”. However, the Mediterranean is lavish in conflicts that, from Iraq to Palestine, have a direct impact on the life of Europeans. But Europe has turned its back on this region and is planning to bury the Barcelona process in a big funeral ceremony.
Nevertheless, Europe cannot ignore the south of the Mediterranean. The migratory pressure from the countries of that region will not stop. African migratory movements first develop inside Africa, but increasingly move to the north in order to enter Europe. Yet, in light of such migratory demands, the EU has no other strategy than to build an enormous trench. It is planning to change Spain, Italy, Morocco, Algeria and Libya into buffer zones, through the institutionalization of émigré and refugee camps.

Libération (France)
Libération followed a long path since its creation by philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre to its acquisition by financier Edouard de Rothschild. Circulation: 150,000 copies.

Le mal de Méditerranée”, by Sami Nair, Libération, November 29, 2005.