Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific challenge: During the last decade, the Mediterranean basin has inspired several concepts, instruments and policies like the Barcelona process, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the Union for the Mediterranean, the European Neighbourhood Policy, action plans and association agreements. The boundaries of the Mediterranean area are not clearly delimited. This region could only include the Mediterranean basin countries (with direct access to the Mediterranean), whereas other specialists take into account the influence of other partners, for example the Gulf States. It is also a dynamic region with the outward and inward movement of people and associated religious, linguistic and ethnic diversity.

For several decades, bilateral approaches to cooperation between the Northern and Southern shores of the Mediterranean have been favoured and this is still prevailing. In this context, an important question arises on the effectiveness of bilateralism versus regionalism taking into account the role of the European Neighbourhood Policy in this region as well as how such policies are perceived by the South. Furthermore, following recent developments in the region, it is important to identify and characterise new leaderships in the Mediterranean area taking into account pluralism of and the power shifts among strategic players as well as the role and significance of other countries that are not part the Mediterranean area.

Scope: Research should assess the potential and effectiveness of the policies and measures implemented between the two shores of the Mediterranean and identify the obstacles and prospects for further collaboration. In this context, the concept of bilateralism and regionalism should be defined and assessed in the Mediterranean area, including the pros and cons of both concepts as well as the evaluation of the potential of in-depth cooperation in specific fields like science and technology, water, agriculture, energy, cultural heritage or transport.

Research should discuss also from a historical perspective, the different understandings of this region and explore which countries significantly influence the situation and developments in the region. In this context, the citizens' perceptions of the image, role and influence of Mediterranean collaboration need to be investigated from both Northern and Southern shores. To this end, data on citizens’ perceptions of the Mediterranean will be collected and updated.

Research should also identify the best practices, priorities and potential future developments that could improve the relations in this region, taking into account potential new strategies and political priorities that could emerge in the near future.

Broad participation of international partners from the Mediterranean region in proposals submitted to this call is strongly encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1.5 and 2.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact: The assessment of the prospects for and obstacles to further collaboration between the two shores of the Mediterranean will improve the understanding of the European Union's external action in the area and should contribute to a reflection on its future role in the region. Research will particularly lead to a refined conceptualization of the new geopolitical configuration of the Mediterranean area which will contribute to debates on the most appropriate mix of policies and measures either through a regional or a bilateral approach, including at sectorial level. Finally, activities under this topic will lead to identifying possible actions needed to improve the EU-Mediterranean collaboration dealing with the particular features of each country in this area.

Type of action: Research and innovation actions

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