Trade is the area of foreign policy where the EU is strongest. With its large internal market, where goods and services move freely, the EU has a strong hand when negotiating as a bloc. In practice, member states agree a mandate for negotiations with third countries or international organisations, such as the World Trade Organisation. The Commission then carries out the negotiations. In major negotiations, such as with the WTO, representatives of the member states usually sit in.
The European Neighbourhood Policy foresees greater market opening between EU and MEDA countries in accordance with the principles of the WTO. In the context of the Barcelona Process, a free trade area for goods has been agreed, and asymmetric liberalisation has begun. The ENP will provide ways and means to deepen trade liberalisation and regional integration.
The Action Plans will set out concrete steps to exploit the opportunities provided in these frameworks to the full. These steps will depend on each partner’s needs, their capacities and their respective priorities in terms of economic policy.
The implementation of the ENP will thus have to be properly sequenced, tailored to each country’s specific circumstances and accompanied by sound macroeconomic, social and structural policies.
For further details on the ENP, please visit the following links:
EUROPA - Overviews on the European Union activities - Internal market
The European Neighbourhood Policy's Southern Dimension Info Centre
European Union Internet Resources - Berkeley Library
EUROPA - Overview on the European Union activities - Transport
The Euro - Mediterranean Partnership Overview