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Alternative Visions for a New Mediterranean Partnership: Evidence From 700+ Stakeholder Interviews

11 February 2019 @ 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm Europe/Rome Timezone
Seminar Room Mansarda, Villa Schifanoia
Mia Saugman

EU-LISTCOOver the past few decades, the EU has represented itself as “peace” in opposition to the area outside the EU, framed as its “neighbourhood” and represented as conflictual, unstable, and in need of EU assistance. Parts of the broader literature dealing with issues pertinent to Euro-Mediterranean relations have reproduced this Euro-centric approach: through a narrow conceptualisation of the Mediterranean space driven by European interests; through the application of European concepts and values to the Mediterranean; through the marginalisation and multitude of contending local perspectives and human security concerns/the needs of people in the region. 

Thanks to a more reflexive methodology, the MEDRESET project has attempted to identify alternatives to prevailing structures through a non-Eurocentric multi-method approach, which includes discourse analysis, an elite survey, and recursive multi-stakeholder consultations (RMSCs). The aim has been to reverse the ordinary approach in which perceptions and priorities of Southern shore partners are included only marginally, if at all. In the RMSCs, instead, EU stakeholders had to react and position themselves with reference to structured inputs coming from four Mediterranean countries: Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt. While giving a short overview of the project and an introduction to its methodology, this talk will focus on the evidence that was gathered through the RMSCs regarding perceptions of the Mediterranean space and the EU’s role in it, as well as local needs in terms of politics, economics, and migration, and proposals for alternative policies. 

Daniela Huber will present the outcome of the MEDRESET project (which is coming to a close) that is relevant to the discussion of the EU-LISTCO project (which has just started), led by Federica Bicchi at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies.

MEDRESET (www.medreset.eu) is a project mainly funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme for Research and Innovation with a total budget of 2.497 million Euro, running from April 2016 – August 2019. It consists of 12 research and academic institutions focusing on different disciplines in the Mediterranean region, with the aim of developing alternative visions for a new Mediterranean partnership and corresponding EU policies. It aims at designing an inclusive, flexible, and responsive future role for the EU in the region, based on the multiple perspectives of local and bottom-up actors.

Organiser: Federica Bicchi (EUI)