Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Three long-term scenarios …

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Monday, October 8th 2012 à 16:02 | Read 1105 times

By Bénédict de Saint-Laurent, advisor at Anima

Bénédict de Saint-Laurent, an advisor at Anima, raises three scenarios to emerge from the crisis (Photo: F. Dubessy)
Bénédict de Saint-Laurent, an advisor at Anima, raises three scenarios to emerge from the crisis (Photo: F. Dubessy)
On a political level, the analysis by ANIMA raises three long-term scenarios for the economic future of this "global region", Euromed:  
The worst-case scenario, or Atlantis scenario. The whole region, on both sides of the Mediterranean, has great cultural assets (civilisations, culture, sites, climate, natural resources, etc.) but little ability to undertake new projects, at least compared to the two other main blocs in the Americas (NAFTA + Mercosur) and Asia (China + ASEAN + India). If a strong Euro-Mediterranean or Euro-African alliance fails to materialise in the next decade, this part of the world will not disappear in the sense of a lost continent (Atlantis), but could see itself largely on the margins and dominated in the global system.  

Euromed´s competitiveness is hindered by a lack of leadership, strategic differences and the ageing of the EU model on the one hand and a lack of integration, current and latent disputes and major challenges in Mediterranean countries on the other. In this scenario, potential synergies between the two sides of the Mediterranean are wasted and existing splits (economic, religious, political) are exacerbated. In a sense, it is a "do nothing" scenario – Europe incapable of adopting a proactive vision of its relationship with its neighbours to the south, MED governments more interested in holding onto power than developing their countries, the flight of elites and capital, a shortage of courageous and forward-looking decision-makers committed to ending interminable disputes and societies resigned to extremism and populism. 

The continuity scenario.  Euromed dialogue continues, though not without stops and starts. The political process brings about some advances for business. Business cooperates, but still faces certain obstacles (visas, imbalances in trade agreements, bureaucracy, the fastidious implementation of common standards, etc.).   

Some commitments emerge from periodical crises, but there is no long-term determination – hence inevitable delays, such as in the free trade area envisaged for 2010, the laborious start-up of the UpM and insufficient funds (the well-known ratio between structural funds allocated to MED and countries in central and eastern Europe of 1:40).    
In this scenario, the MED brings together several models: some areas of excellence (metropolitan areas, industrial and logistics centres, technology parks) that can attract the best activities and citizens of MED; numerous tourist enclaves; vast, under-equipped suburban areas, etc. With few exceptions (oil companies), industry will depend on multinationals from the OECD or emerging economies (Tata, Mittal, CNPC, Bunge, Emaar etc.). MED and Europe will experience relative decline against Asia and the Americas.    

The ideal scenario. All disputes are resolved (perhaps because they are seen as secondary to the challenges facing the planet). MED-15, the organisation separate from the EU-35, is created in 2015 and its 50 Member States are part of a Union for the Mediterranean. Euro-Med complementarity is encouraged in terms of the movement of goods and people. A development bank helps in the proliferation of business projects and partnerships.   

A treaty is signed, turning the Mediterranean into a global testing ground for industrial approaches based on innovation, social responsibility, environmental awareness, etc. Widespread access to the internet facilitates the development of a genuine knowledge economy throughout the Mediterranean basin.   
Clearly the product of million of individual decisions, this scenario above all requires a number of collective choices to be made based on long-term rationality: Systematic preference being given to sustainable projects, the growth of delegation and local responsibility, engagement to promote deeper regional cooperation, priority being given to education and training, real economic opportunities for entrepreneurs, in particular young people, women and diasporas. 

It is up to us to choose!   

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