Watch dog zu EU-Nordafrika

TunisEUUngeachtet komplizierter Vorbereitung, widriger Arbeitsbedingungen und entschwundener bzw. erkrankter Redner/innen war das zweiteilige RLS-Attac/Germany-Kooperationsseminar ein schöner Erfolg. Das gilt sowohl für die Veranstaltung im Zelt als auch für die im völlig überfüllten Raum. Vor allem freut, dass es gelungen ist, die geplante „Watching Group“ bzw. „Watch dog“ zu starten. Daran hatten sicher Gabi Zimmer, die Vorsitzende der Linksfraktion im Europäischen Parlament, und Said Salim von Attac Germany hohen Anteil. Gabi resümierte zum einen EU-Außen- und Außenwirtschaftspolitik gegenüber den APK-Staaten (ehemalige europäische Kolonien in Afrika, im pazifischen und karibischen Raum) und gegenüber den Ländern in der Maghreb-Region. Dabei fokussierte sie auf Analogien. Zum anderen reflektierte sie Erfahrungen aus dem parlamentarischen und vor allem außerparlamentarischen Kampf gegen die EPAs (Freihandelsabkommen zwischen der EU und den APK-Staaten). Die Diskussion und insbesondere der Beitrag von Belgacem Ben Abdallah zeigten deutliche Ähnlichkeiten zwischen dem, was heute in den sogenannten „Eurokrisenländern“ geschieht und dem, was in den achtziger Jahren in den Maghreb-Ländern und konkret in Tunesien geschah. Nicht Alles, was für die EU-Bürgerinnen und –Bürger neu ist, ist wirklich neu.

Eine solche Schlussfolgerung, gezogen auf dem WSF, führt selbstverständlich zu der Frage, was aus den Erfahrungen jener gelernt werden kann, die ja schon gegen das Nicht-Neue gekämpft haben. Sie wurde vor allem von MdB Heike Hänsel gestellt. Die kollektive Suche nach Antwort richtete den Blick nicht erst zuletzt auf partizipative Prozesse in Lateinamerika. Aus ihnen sind in den letzten 20 bis 30 Jahren reale soziale Bewegungen und neue Bündnisse hervorgegangen.

Dies veranlasste uns, im 2. Workshop-Teil die „Watch-dog“-Idee weiter zu präzisieren, sie mit den Alltagserfahrungen der Teilnehmer/innen zu verknüpfen. Diesen Part bestritten Said Salim und die RLS-Moderatorin weitgehend alleine, denn die erwarteten Redner/innen waren bis auf Said verhindert. Nur gut, dass Babels Übersetzer/innen genauso perfekt waren wie die professionellen Dolmetscher/innen vom Vortag. Daher an die Stelle einen großen Dank an „die Babels!“.

Ohne sie hätten die Watch-dog-Absprachen nicht getroffen werden können: in „kurzer Kürze“ werden die Interessierten gebeten, Fakten zu nennen, da sie in ihrem Alltag mit EU-Beziehungen konfrontiert sind oder meinen, mit diesen Beziehungen konfrontiert zu sein.

Die Reflektion der Antworten soll erbringen, was die Watch dog zuerst aufspüren soll. So können konkrete Gespräche und Kommunikation beginnen. Parallel dazu werden thematisch arbeitende NGO und Netzwerke, die bereits „watchen“, zur Zusammenarbeit eingeladen. Allerdings bearbeiten diese immer nur einzelne Aspekte und orientieren bestenfalls auf Ein-Punkt-Bewegungen. Wir wollen mehr: komplexe Zusammenhänge zum Ausgangspunkt partizipativer Prozesse machen, in denen interessierte Menschen informiert werden, individuell und kollektiv Einsichten gewinnen und sich sehr vielfältig organisieren können. Damit und darüber hinaus wollen wir emanzipative Bewegungen, ihr Networking und die Zusammenarbeit mit Partner/innen in der EU unterstützen. Schließlich sind die Probleme komplex, „hängt Alles mit Allem zusammen“.

Wir haben bereits die Arbeit an unserer Idee begonnen und Kooperationsgespräche mit Mitwirkenden im „from-Seattle-to-Brussels“-Network geführt. Das Projekt findet mit dem RLS-Büro, das sehr bald in Tunis eröffnet wird, eine starke Stütze. Die bisherige Zusammenarbeit mit Mai und Amel begründet großen Optimismus.

 Workshop Title: “The EU North-Africa Relations: Resistance and Alternatives”

Date: 27 March

Time: 13:00 to 15:30

 

 

Workshop Brief:

This workshop will discuss the European Union’s attempts in strengthening the neoliberal forces by Free Trade Agreements and other economic instruments. How do we resist that and what are the available alternatives. This workshop is jointly organized by Attac Germany, Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation Germany and UDC Tunisia.

Speakers:
Belgacem Ben Abdallah – Member of the National Coordinating Committee of UDC

Gabi Zimmer – Chair of the German Left in the European Parliament

Said Salim, Frankfurt, Attac Germany

Discussants:

Heike Hänsel – member of the left in the German Bundestag

Ercan Ayboga – activist against mega dams projects.

Workshop Programme

13:15 – 13:20             Welcome and Introduction

13:20 – 13:35            The past and the present of EU-Maghreb relations: Tunisia    as case study –  Gabi Zimmer:

13:35 – 13:50            EU-Tunisia relations and Unemployment, the experience of UDC – Belgacem Abdallah

13:50 – 14:05            EU-Deep and Comprehensive Trade Agreements with Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan- Said Salim:

Discussion

14:05 – 14:30            Questions and Comments

14:30 – 14:40            German-Tunisia relations (transformation partnership agreement), and Ideas for strategies and joint activities – Heike Hänsel

14:40 – 15:30           Further discussion and conclusion

Suggestion of outcome of the workshop:

Following the discussion that will take place on political strategies and modes of resistance in the first session that will happen through exchanging experience, we want in the second session to propose establishing a common watch group (aka watch dog). The idea is that this watch group will inform and analyse what is going on in the EU level and on the level of the biggest EU member states concerning the EU 2020 realisation, the negotiations on free trade, cooperation and “security agreements” – especially connected with the migration issue and the Common Foreign and Defence Policies with its NATO connections and the repercussions on North Africa and especially Tunisia. This watch group would cooperate with social movements and initiative and existing international networks as the Seattle to Brussels Network. The watch group would also monitor the attempts made by the EU its different bodies at country level and how they approach different governments using the transition phase to their best interest through different social movements and civil society groups working in North Africa with a special focus on Tunisia.

Background:

The EU 2020 strategy pursues an EU that is “a successful competitive global actor” like its predecessor the Lisbon strategy. With its “Global Europe” it focuses on global strength with an even stronger forced adjustment in free trade. The newly designed European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) which was hastily developed in the course of the “Arab spring” and the “trans-formation partnerships” between Germany and Arab region were led by EU and Germany’s interests and were by no means guided for the best interest of the Arab population. It had one specific goal: A greater internal market and the expansion of the EU’s influence in the region.

The logic behind this is very easy: For being successful in global competition the EU wants to have peaceful neighbours willing to be controlled by the EU, it also wants to avoid “bad surprises” as social unrest; it wants to protect the EU from unwanted migration, but at the same time receive highly qualified labour force. It wants to reduce carbon emissions but at the same time providing the EU with energy and other necessary resources, while of course importing and enlarging the EU global influence. The main ways for realising that are: “security”, energy partnerships, infrastructure investments, liberalization and free trade “growth” strategies.

For such strategic calculations Tunisia is of a special interest for European Global Player, especially in Germany and France: The concentration of political and religious “extremists” is much lower than in other Arab and Muslim countries; many highly qualified individuals, the population is highly motivated to develop national economy and international cooperation, the labour is extremely cheap and the country’s geographic location is close to Europe and its markets.

The four pillars of the EU – Tunisia relationship are: (i) Privileged Partnership and a New Action Plan; (ii) negotiations of trade agreements; (iii) a new agreement in the aviation area to boost tourism and (iv) a mobility partnership.

Recent history of agreements between EU and Tunisia:

2013:

Negotiations for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) underway

2012:

A political agreement was reached on the text of the new ENP action plan towards a “Privileged Partnership” in November.

2011:

The European Council approved negotiations of DCFTAs with Morocco, Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia in December

2009:

Protocol between the European Community and the Republic of Tunisia which establishes an association between EU and its member states from one side, and Tunisia from the other side. This agreement is a dispute settlement mechanism under the trade provisions of the Euro-Mediterranean agreement.

2008:

Tunisia became the first Mediterranean country to enter in a free trade area with EU by finalizing the dismantling of its tariffs for industrial products

2006:

Euro-Mediterranean Agreement on imports of agricultural products originating in Tunisia and of fishery products originating in Tunisia, and on the arrangements applying to imports into Tunisia of agricultural products originating from the European Community and on mutual assistance in customs matters between the administrative authorities of both sides.

2004:

Introduction of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which operationalized the Barcelona process as a multilateral of dialogues and cooperation between the EU and its Mediterranean partners through association agreements signed with each country. ENP focuses on relations in security field, political, economic, and cultural fields.

1998:

An Association Agreement (AA) has governed bilateral relations between the European Union and Tunisia, which provides for a Free Trade Area (FTA). It constitutes the framework for EU-Tunisia political, economic, social, scientific and cultural cooperation.

1995:

Cooperation with Tunisia started under the MEDA programme (1995-2006), which represented the main financial instrument under the Barcelona process.

Glossary

Association Agreement

These refer to contractual relationships between the European Union (EU) and a non-EU country. Association Agreements may promote the establishment/ strengthening of regular dialogue and close relations on political and security matters; gradual liberalisation of trade in goods, services and capital; economic cooperation with a view to encouraging economic and social development and regional economic integration; social, cultural and human dialogue.

The concept of “advanced status” under the Association Agreements means a strengthening of political cooperation and new opportunities in economic and trade relations, progressive regulatory convergence as well as strengthened cooperation with certain European agencies and programmes.

Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA)

A free trade agreement covering a wide array of trade-related issues (“comprehensive”) and aiming at eliminating ‘behind the border’ obstacles to trade through processes of regulatory approximation, thus partially opening/extending the EU internal market to the other party. It is currently offered only to ENP countries.

European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Proposed by the Commission in 2003-2004 as a framework policy through which an enlarged EU could strengthen and deepen relations with its 16 closest neighbours (Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine) with a view to counteracting risks of marginalisation for the neighbouring countries which had not participated in the historic 2004 enlargement and therefore ensuring the strengthening of a shared area of prosperity, stability and security.

ENP Action Plans

These documents are negotiated with and tailor-made for each country, based on the country’s needs and capacities, as well as their and the EU’s interests. They jointly define an agenda of political and economic reforms by means of short and medium-term (3-5 years) priorities. They cover political dialogue and reform, economic and social cooperation and development, trade-related issues and market and regulatory reform, cooperation in justice and home affairs, sectors (such as transport, energy, information society, environment, research and development) and a human dimension (people-to-people contacts, civil society, education, public health). The incentives on offer, in return for progress on relevant reforms, are greater integration into European programmes and networks, increased assistance and enhanced market access.

Barcelona Process

Framework policy launched in 1995 by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the then 15 EU members and 14 Mediterranean partners as the base for the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership which has evolved into the Union for the Mediterranean. The partnership was organised into three main dimensions: political and security dialogue; economic and financial partnership; social, cultural and human partnership. With the introduction of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in 2004, the Barcelona Process essentially became the multilateral forum of dialogue and cooperation between the EU and its Mediterranean partners while complementary bilateral relations are managed mainly under the ENP and through Association Agreements signed with each partner country.

European Investment Bank (EIB)

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the European Union’s financing institution. Outside the EU, the EIB is active in over 150 countries to implement the financial pillar of EU external cooperation and development policies (private sector development, infrastructure development, security of energy supply, and environmental sustainability).

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (ERBD)

Established in 1991 in response to major changes in the political and economic climate in central and Eastern Europe, the ERBD is an international financial institution that supports projects from central Europe to central Asia by investing primarily in private sector clients whose needs cannot be fully met by the market, with a view to fostering transition towards open and democratic market economies. Following the “Arab Spring” its area of operations has been extended to Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia and Egypt in September 2012.