Contrary to what many had hoped for, the Arab Spring did not bring a new age of peace and harmony with it. Widespread economic challenges, deteriorating liberties, deep-rooted enmities and differences in ideology are still wreaking havoc in toppled dictatorships. The situation is putting the eastern and southern Mediterranean region in chaos. In the meantime, EU policies towards the region have proven to be inadequate for fostering a sustainable future, conjuring the spectre of a failed Euro–Mediterranean area. The EU-funded project 'Prospective analysis for the Mediterranean region' (MEDPRO) sought to understand these challenges and how it could achieve a Euro Mediterranean common union. Cautioning that serious action must be taken immediately to achieve a more sustainable future for the region, the project brought together 17 key institutions from across the region to explore current challenges. These challenges include unemployment, inferior living standards, inequality, discrimination and environmental issues. Addressing these issues from an EU perspective will certainly require political will, good governance, social inclusion and in-depth knowledge of the region. Against this backdrop, MEDPRO explored different scenarios that could arise by 2030 in order to support policymaking for economic and social development. It aimed to encourage reform and present policy options, focusing on topics such as geopolitics and governance; democracy, health and ageing; and energy and climate change mitigation. The project also looked at scenarios for regional integration and cooperation with the EU, going beyond trade liberalisation to instigating real change in the region. MEDPRO delivered a comprehensive set of reports, policy papers, recommendations and commentaries on the different topics to support policymakers and further policy guidance. These have been made available through the project's website and can be downloaded by interested stakeholders. In parallel, MEDPRO helped reinforce research links across the Mediterranean and enhance knowledge on political and socioeconomic development. While the project's outcomes could be invaluable for policymakers, they are also of interest to academics, students, young researchers and the public on both sides of the Mediterranean. Recommendations, exchanges and a common vision could help foster stability in the region and redefine the EU–Mediterranean relationship to further sustainability for all involved.
Arab Spring, Mediterranean, regional turmoil, governance, social inclusion, geopolitics, democracy, regional integration, trade liberalisation, socioeconomic development