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Torn between Reform and Stagnation: An Institutionalist Analysis of the MEDA Programme


  • Stephan Stetter


The paper proposes some hypotheses about the way in which the EU contributes via its MEDA Programme to the promotion of intra-regional economic co-operation among Mediterranean non-member countries. It argues that MEDA is indeed an important political and economic measure to create favourable conditions for increased trade and investment among Mediterranean non-member countries. Notwithstanding this general proposition, an institutionalist analysis of the implementation process of the MEDA Programmes for the years 1995-1999 reveals that deadlocks within the EU policy-making process have significantly weakened the overall success of financial and technical assistance. The paper provides an in-depth empirical analysis of the MEDA Programme and its contribution to enhance intra-regional economic co-operation. It argues that only if the institutional deadlocks can be overcome can MEDA function as the envisaged accompanying measure to the reform of Mediterranean non-member countries economic and social structures and, thereby, provide the basis for increased intra-regional economic co-operation. Recent reforms at the EU level have, at least partially, addressed the most pertinent shortcomings of the first five years of the operation of MEDA. However, political declarations, such as the Common Strategy on the Mediterranean, cast some serious doubts on whether the EU has the political will to underpin these organisational reforms with the necessary political leadership. This dilemma between cautious organisational reforms, on the one hand, and political stagnation, on the other, ultimately weakens the contribution the EU could make to foster economic co-operation among Mediterranean non-member countries via the MEDA system.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephan Stetter, 2004. "Torn between Reform and Stagnation: An Institutionalist Analysis of the MEDA Programme," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 43, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:euirsc:p0149

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pollack, Mark A., 1997. "Delegation, agency, and agenda setting in the European Community," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(01), pages 99-134, December.
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    Mediterranean; implementation; institutionalism; international relations; political science;

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