Middle East & N. Africa: Civil society criticises the evaluation of EU Association Agreements and their impact on socio-economic wellbeing in the region

A coalition of civil society organisations in the Middle East and North Africa have published a statement jointly criticising the evaluation study of six Association Agreements (AAs) between the EU and Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia. Describing the approach of the study as “highly unsatisfactory”, the declaration by 24 civil society organisations points to a number of key problematic areas:

  • The EU Directorate-General for Trade determined that its own data and configurations would be used to run the macroeconomic model of assessment (MIRAGE), therefore meaning that consultancies were recruited to merely analyse their result. This is therefore not an “independent” evaluation study of the AAs and, 24 organisations conclude that, the method imposed was unsuitable to analyse the AAs and favour an empirically based method.
  • Civil society inclusion was insufficient in the evaluation of the AAs and its conclusions did not consider civil society recommendations. There needs to be genuine, continuous and meaningful involvement of a wide range of organisations throughout the entire study.
  • The evaluation study does not substantively address the issue of sustainable development. According to the signatories of the declaration, it is not easy to measure economic and social sustainability with the model employed, due also to the lack of empirical analysis. For example, the study does not include an in-depth analysis into the consequences and impact of each AA.

 

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Article
16 December 2019

Study on Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements criticised by NGOs for being insufficient, ineffective & lacking civil society involvement

Author: Marco Jonville, FTDES

“Civil society declaration – Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements: the mirage of the evaluation study”, 12 December 2019

As part of the evaluation study of 6 association agreements…between the [EU] and South Mediterranean countries (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia), the consultancy consortium carrying out the evaluation have held workshops in each of the six countries and sought the views of civil society. Based on the approach to the evaluation taken by this study, as presented in Tunis on 26th September 2019 and in the Final Inception Report…24 civil society organizations in the EuroMed region [viewed] the evaluation as highly unsatisfactory:

1.  The economic methodology, which has been imposed by the [EU] Commission, is neither transparent nor suitable for an evaluation of the agreements;

2.  civil society has not been sufficiently involved, and [its] recommendations have not been taken into account;

3.  the study does not constitute an evaluation of the agreements in terms of sustainable development, including of the impact on the economic, social and environmental well-being of the populations concerned.

The critique is based on the international human rights framework, in particular the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights...and the "Guiding Principles on Human Rights Impact Assessments of Trade and Investments Agreements". 

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