CEUR Working Paper No. 7, September 2013

Johannes Mueller/ Uwe Puetter

Dynamics of intergovernmentalism in Euro-Mediterranean politics

This paper focuses on patterns of intergovernmental cooperation in the context of Euro-Mediterranean politics. Euro-Mediterranean politics are understood to have an orientation towards the geographic space encompassing the European Union (EU), North Africa and West Asia (MENA). The paper reviews practices intergovernmental policy dialog with a specific focus on the role of political elites and members of the executive. This analysis is situated within the larger literature on Euro-Mediterranean government-driven interaction and regionalism. The research is based on novel document analysis and a series of stakeholder interviews. The key argument of the paper is that insights into varying practices of intergovernmental policy dialogue reveal diverging potential and prospects for wider Euro-Mediterranean regional integration. As with other dimensions of Euro-Mediterranean politics, structures for intergovernmental policy dialog are identified as being characterized by an asymmetry in institutional design. This asymmetry results from attempts by the EU to export particular patterns of intergovernmentalism to the sphere of Euro-Mediterranean politics. Yet, existing institutional formats for intergovernmental policy dialogue are highly diverse in scope, design, and permanence. Many of these formats tend to be volatile in terms of participating institutions and individuals. The Euro-Med’s characteristics as well as its institutional landscape make this region a complicated, but intriguing contrasting case for the study of logics and dynamics of intergovernmentalism.