The maxim that economic performance is a core element of socio-political stability has
been the guiding principle of European integration since 1945. The EU’s 2004
enlargement followed the successful ‘export’ of this philosophy – and the institutions
that make it work – to Central and Eastern Europe, Malta and Cyprus. The next external
relations challenge for the EU-25 is to continue spreading peace, security and prosperity
throughout its neighbourhood.
The GO-EuroMed project assembles a team of economics and political science institutes
from EU and Mediterranean Partner Countries, together reflecting the diversity of a
dynamic region. Research will aim to identify multilateral, bilateral and domestic
institutional design and management strategies for the key trade, investment and labour
sectors. Although these institutions are ostensibly economic, their design and
management cannot take place in a political vacuum – indeed, trade, investment and
labour are deeply intertwined with domestic and international political processes. The
project will evaluate growth strategies in the light of key political and social challenges
facing the region, in order to produce economically desirable and politically feasible
institutional solutions capable of furthering the Barcelona Process’ goals in the
The prospect of EU accession proved a powerful ‘carrot’ for Central and Eastern
Europeans, encouraging liberalisation, growth and stability during the 1990s. As full
membership is not on offer for Mediterranean Partner Countries, the EU needs to work
closely with them to ensure that concrete gains for the region and its peoples are realised.
Economic growth is the most obvious and tangible benefit – but is hollow unless
structured to reach all levels of society. Efficient, legitimate regional institutions may hold
the key to improving economic performance – and encouraging socio-political stability –
throughout the ‘Wider Europe’ region.